CALLUM McGREGOR is on the brink of agreeing a bumper new deal at Celtic.
Ange Postecoglou has been massively impressed by the team’s new captain and will urge Hoops hierarchy to reward the Scotland international midfielder with an extension to his present terms.
McGregor, 28, is under contract until 2024, but another 12 months, at least, are likely to be added on with the Greek-Australian gaffer admitting the player is a key figure in his plans for the team.
Postecoglou said: “We’ll start addressing those sorts of things now we’ve got through the window.
THE WOW FACTOR…Callum McGregor is poised to sign a new deal at Celtic.
“We’ll work on the players whose contracts are current and see what we need to do there. I’ve no doubt Cal’s going to be a pivotal figure in this football club for the next few years.
“The club will respect his position. We’ll start working on the structure off the field in terms of our staffing and how we do things, which is good.
“I want to build something that’s going to be a sustainable success.
“It’s going to take a little time, but we’re chipping away at it.”
McGregor sustained an injury in last weekend’s 3-0 win over Ross County and was forced to sit out the 4-3 loss against Real Betis in the opening Europa League Group G encounter in Seville on Thursday, but he could return against Livingston in West Lothian tomorrow.
Liel Abada, who has made such an impressive start since his £3.5million arrival from Israel, also miss the game in Spain through Religious beliefs, but he, too, is in line for a quickfire return on Livi’s dreaded plastic surface.
IT TAKES TWO…Ange Postecoglou and Callum McGregor at Lennoxtown.
Reflecting on Seville, Postecoglou said: “There were plenty of positives. We could have taken a different approach, but we set out our stall to play a certain way and we came out of it not far off.
“Having more players – and they’re significant players, if you’re talking about Cal and Kyogo Furuhashi – will help this group.”
Greek striker Giorgos Giakoumakis, who arrived on deadline day following his £2.5million switch from Dutch outfit VVV-Venlo, is standing by to make his debut and could figure at some stage tomorrow although he is unlikely to start.
Postecoglou is hoping the injury problems will ease with McGregor’s international team-mates Greg Taylor and James Forrest also struggling while Mikey Johnston and Karamoko Dembele have yet to kick a ball in the first team since sustaining setbacks in pre-season outings.
The Hoops take on Raith Rovers in the League Cup quarter-final in Glasgow on Thursday before hosting Dundee United in the Premiership the following Sunday. Bayer Leverkusen, who beat Ferencvaros 2-1 in their opening group game, provide the opposition on Thursday while the Hungarians are due at the end of the month.
HOOP HOOP HOORAY…James McCarthy celebrates with Albian Ajeti after the striker’s second goal in the 3-0 win over Ross County.
Postecoglou, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “If we persist with what we’re trying to do the results will come.
“We want to string results together to keep in touch with the leading teams then we’ve got the Cup competition in midweek and the next two Europa games are at home so there’s a chance to build momentum.
”I understand people want to see new players, but Giorgos had a disrupted pre-season, a bit like James McCarthy.
“I’ve been really keen to get James on the pitch and now it looks like he’s ready to go.
“It will be the same with Giorgos. If he’s not involved on Sunday he will definitely be involved on Thursday.“