CALLUM McGREGOR was one of the Celtic players who could come off the Ibrox pitch yesterday with his head held high.
The midfielder, pressed into action at left-back as emergency cover for the injured Kieran Tierney, put in his usual wholehearted performance while a few of his team-mates failed to respond to the challenge in a disappointing 1-0 defeat against Steven Gerrard’s side.
However, the Scotland international has vowed the seven-in-a-row title kings will come fighting back from a dismal display in Govan to answer their critics.
McGregor said: “It was a sore one for us. We didn’t play well enough to win the game.
“So, we have to hold our hands up. We weren’t good enough on the day – Rangers deserved it.
“We just have to take our medicine, move on and come back stronger next year.
“I just think they were more aggressive, they were winning second balls and we didn’t pass it well enough.
“We never kept the ball for long periods of the game and when you do that you don’t give yourself a chance.
“Especially when you come here and the atmosphere is up, the crowd is up. You don’t give yourselves a chance.
“It’s always tough at Ibrox and we’ve been fortunate in the past few years that we’ve done well here, but we anticipated a tough game and all credit to Rangers.
NO GOAL…Callum McGregor slips the ball into the net, but referee John Beaton is quick to rule it out.
“They came after us and unsettled us, so there was a feeling inside the dressing room that a lot of the lads have not felt before.
“We need to remember that feeling and use it to galvanise the squad, be better during the winter break and make sure we are picking up points away from home.
“That is something we need to address in the winter break and to come back stronger in the second part of the season.”
McGregor thought he had equalised in the 67th minute when he raced onto a pass from Ryan Christie to tuck the ball under Allan McGregor. However, he was was flagged offside in the tightest of margins and the champions were denied.
He added: “I heard it was as tight as it can be but some days you get them, some days you don’t.”
McGregor and keeper Craig Gordon were two of the Hoops players who turned up yesterday, but too many of their colleagues did not pass the test of playing in a stadium that hosted only 750 Celtic supporters.
A lot of questions were asked on a crucial afternoon and too many of them went unanswered – but McGregor and Gordon cannot be held accountable for the team’s first defeat in 13 games against the Ibrox outfit.