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CALMAC IS HOOPS’ MARATHON MAN

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CALLUM McGREGOR has been involved in more hours this season – over SIXTY-TWO to be precise – than any other top-flight European player.

The versatile Celtic midfielder has notched up over 41 games since the season kicked off with a Champions League qualifier against Alashkert on July 10 last year.

McGregor is looking forward to his well-earned breather and said: “It has been competitive, but from our point of view we just want to focus on what we can do and I’m sure the break will do us good.

“We have played a fair bit of football already, so it will be good to go and get our feet up for a bit before getting ready to come back and go again.

“There is a lot of hard work now to be done in the second half of the season and we are fully focused on getting on with it.”

The Hoops brought down the curtain on the action for 2018 with a dismal display in the 1-0 loss at Ibrox, but McGregor was quick to point out: “It is not all doom and gloom.

“We have won the League Cup and we have Europa League football to look forward to in February and I think that while we were all gutted at the defeat and the manner of the defeat, you have to look at the bigger picture.

NON-STOP…it’s been all go for Callum McGregor since July. Pic: Geo.

”There are a few of our boys who don’t know what it is like to lose a game to Rangers. It is a pretty hellish feeling and it isn’t one that you want to go through too many times.

“Over the piece, we have had a good run at it, but the feeling that stays with you is probably what it is like to walk off the pitch having lost the game. You can use that. You have to take that and make sure that it works in your favour and that you come back stronger from having gone through it.

“It happened to us before at Hampden a few years back and we came back pretty well from that. It is important now that we look to do the same and come back to start producing some consistency between now and the end of the season.”

McGregor was selected for the left-back role against Steven Gerrard’s side with Kieran Tierney on the substitutes’ bench.

His presence in midfield was felt by the champions and it was only when they changed shape in the second-half his influence was seen.

He thought he had scored the equaliser, but was just adjudged to be offside as he raced onto a pass from Ryan Christie before tucking the ball under Allan McGregor.

However, it says a lot for the Scotland international that he and goalkeeper Craig Gordon were the team’s best performers on a day to forget – Brendan Rodgers’ first defeat to 13 games against the Govan outfit.

Celtic will return to action in the defence of their Scottish Cup with a tie against Airdrie at Parkhead on Saturday, January 19.

And it starts all over again for Callum McGregor!

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