FORMER Celtic team-mates Callum McGregor and Scott Brown will become the best of enemies this afternoon – for 90-plus minutes.
The two pals will go head to head in the midfield battleground as the Hoops welcome back their former inspirational onfield leader and his Aberdeen colleagues with three precious Premiership points up for grabs at Parkhead this afternoon.
McGregor and Brown will be side by side for a matter of minutes before kick-off as they carry out wreaths in memory of club legend Bertie Auld who sadly passed away a fortnight ago at the age of 83 after being diagnosed with dementia.
Gordon Strachan’s £4.4million buy from Hibs in 2007 left the Hoops in the summer to take up a player-coaching post at the Pittodrie club with McGregor taking over the captain’s armband.
HAMPDEN BIG NOISES…Scott Brown and Callum McGregor yell in delight after the 2019 Betfred League Cup Final success over their Ibrox foes.
The Scotland international anchorman admits his old midfield partner will be revered by the club’s supporters after his extraordinary trophy haul of 22 honours in a in a medal-laden career in the east end of Glasgow.
McGregor, at the age of 28 and with 14 trophies, has quite a bit to do to catch up, but it it is not a task from which he will shirk.
Ange Postecoglou’s influential middle-of-the-park orchestrator said: “Scott and I were always talking when he was here.
“He was brilliant for me when I was coming through in terms of always giving me any help he could. Then over the last few years we got really close.
“He was such a great leader, so there were always bits where I’d try and learn from what he would do in any given situation.
“But at the same time I’d try to put my own spin on it as well.
HE’S BEHIND YOU…Callum McGregor poses with the newly-won Betfred League Cup as Scott Brown prepares to join him after the 2019 Hampden triumph.
“Do I copy anything he did? Just the way he led. He was always such a presence in our changing room.
“He took responsibility for the players on his shoulders and just let everyone else go and play. I think that’s important, that the boys feel they have a go-to guy.
“I will take the responsibility and let them play, let them enjoy their football.
“That was something Scott was very good at, being that focal point in the dressing room.”
McGregor, speaking to the Sunday Mail, added: “Scott is coming back to Celtic Park for the first time since he left and, as a club, we also want to show our appreciation for Bertie and what he did for Celtic. It will be a great tribute.
“We’ll be trying to create a special atmosphere for him and then we need to try to match that with the result.
PEEK-A-BOO…Scott Brown smiles happily with the Betfred League Cup as Callum McGregor, Ryan Christie and Kristoffer Ajer take part in an impromptu Hampden laugh-in. Remarkably, McGregor is the only one of the four still at the club under two years later.
“It will be a big occasion for Scott, as well. He was hugely successful here, a real legend for the club.
“So, it’s fitting that we’re able to honour Bertie with one of our other greats.
“Although, for us, we have to look at the game itself because we need three points.
“That means trying to take the emotion out of it as much as possible to focus on what we need to do.
“Once the game is over, we will have a chat, but for the 90 minutes both of us will be doing everything we can to win the game for our respective teams.”
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