CALLUM McGREGOR admits the Celtic players have not been carrying out Neil Lennon’s orders this season.
The stand-in skipper is clearly hurting with the champions’ abysmal performances in this campaign that has seen woe settling on Parkhead.
It didn’t get any better yesterday when a well-drilled St Mirren team left the east end of Glasgow with a 2-1 success – their first league win at the venue since 1990.
Credit must be given to Jim Goodwin’s side for sticking to their game-plan – something, unfortunately, that was outwith the scope of their blundering opponents who have won only one of their six Premiership games in 2021 while their dreams of a historic tenth consecutive title head for oblivion.
McGregor, speaking to the Scottish Sun on Sunday, said: “There’s no doubt we have to learn from this season, try to put it right as best we can, and learn from these downs in football.
“I think we all have to take a collective responsibility.
“The players have said that, when we cross the line the manager can’t play for us, so we have to symbolise what he’s all about on the pitch.
“The gaffer tries to get his ideas across and the players are paid to implement that and for one reason or another we haven’t this season.
“Everyone has to take that collective responsibility and the players haven’t performed as well as we can.”
McGregor, at least, put in a shift against the Saints who had more shots on target than their rivals. A few of his team-mates cannot say the same. The champions are carrying far too much baggage and it has cost them dearly in terms of results this time out.
The Scotland international midfielder has been wearing the captain’s armband while Scott Brown served a ban following his foolish red card in the 2-2 draw against Livingston only five minutes after coming on as substitute earlier this month.
The anchorman continued: “It’s hugely disappointing. It’s just not acceptable for a club of this size. We’ve had so much success at Celtic.
“St Mirren came here and played well. They were well organised and tactically they got it spot on, but we should be performing way, way better than that.
“The quality we have in the squad and the dressing room, there’s no excuses for that.
“People ask what’s gone wrong, that’s the big question and we’ve had so many chats about it.
“If we had the answer it wouldn’t be happening and that’s everybody’s responsibility as players to go on the pitch to perform.
“That’s why we’re here, we’re paid to do that, and the performances simply haven’t been good enough.
“If you could fix it, you would, but it’s just about us trying to learn and get better for these experiences.
“You’re going to have hard times in football.
“But probably the big surprise for us is that we’ve had so much success, so when the down times come it makes them even harder.
“You just have to work even harder than you did when you were successful to try and turn it around again.”
The 27-year-old anchorman added: “We lost a few experienced boys last year and that’s been difficult for us, as well. But as a club, we now have to move forward. We’re in that transition moment.
“But we have to keep pushing, keep learning and keep working hard to put it right and try to save the season in some sense.
“It’s going to be very difficult to do that now, but certainly looking forward, we have to learn the lessons.
“It’s just hugely disappointing, it’s all you think about. You’re here to win and when that’s been instilled in you from such a young age, when you don’t win it’s so hard to take.
“We keep trying to find the reasons why and keep trying to fix it. Sometimes it just doesn’t click.
“It hurts, but the only way to come out of that a better player and a better person is to keep working to turn it around and being positive.”
With the champions 23 points adrift, McGregor and his team-mates go into action again on Tuesday night when they face Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.