CALLUM McGREGOR has fired stinging criticism at Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox side following the aftermatch fracas that marred Celtic’s 2-1 triumph at Parkhead on Sunday.

And the Scotland international midfielder also claimed team-mate Scott Brown was assaulted TWICE during the triumph that saw the champions move THIRTEEN points clear at the top of the Premiership in their bid for eight successive titles.

McGregor insisted he and his colleagues had every right to celebrate their victory, just as their opponents had done at Ibrox in late December when they won their first game against the Hoops in 13 outings.

HIGH AND MIGHTY…Callum McGregor rises above Scott Arfield.

On that occasion, the Celtic players made no fuss as they headed for the tunnel, but there were chaotic and angry scenes at the finale of the weekend encounter which was won with a neat goal from James Forrest in the 86th minute after Ryan Kent had wiped out Odsonne Edouard’s solo opener in the first-half.

McGregor, who is preparing to play against St Mirren at Paisley this evening as the title kings count down the seven games until the end of another successful championship campaign, backed his captain and his team-mates on their conduct after the final whistle.

The smooth operator, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “As a football player – and especially playing in a Celtic against Rangers game – you are entitled to celebrate and I don’t think anything was over the top. The game actually finished over in that corner. Nobody ran anywhere else in the stadium.

“They celebrated where they were on the pitch and, in my eyes, there was nothing wrong with anything that any of the Celtic players did.

“If you look back at the December game, Rangers deserved to win it and they celebrated on the pitch just as much as we did on Sunday.

POINTING THE WAY…Scott Brown takes control.

“But I think the difference is we took it. We just put our heads down, took our medicine and we got up the tunnel.

“So, in terms of that, the conduct of the Rangers players maybe was not great. That’s up to Rangers the way they want to conduct themselves. We always try to do it with humility.”

Brown was accused of sparking the melee by facing away fans as he celebrated. The Hoops onfield leader was in the wars when he took an elbow in the face from the red-carded Alfredo Morelos in the first-half and was then punched by Ryan Kent in the immediate aftermath of the winning strike.

McGregor was amazed at the treatment of his skipper and said: “He has basically been assaulted twice for a wee bit of mind games.

“It’s always part of the game in these big games. Players will try to wind each other up.

“I don’t think Broony did anything that bad to provoke anything. It happens in football, it’s a charged atmosphere.”

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report and best images of the St Mirren v Celtic game this evening – only in your champion CQN.

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