CALLUM McGREGOR is adamant the Champions League is the best place to test your qualities.
The midfielder is gearing up for this evening’s second round knock-out qualifier against Ferencvaros at Parkhead this evening as Celtic step onto the European tightrope once again.
And the Scotland international whetted his appetite for the contest against the Hugarians by watching Sunday’s Final in the elite competition when Bayern Munich beat Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 to life the trophy in Lisbon.
McGregor, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “That Final is the very pinnacle of club football and, seeing that game a few nights ago, it is very fresh and in the front of your mind that you want to be there.
“As a footballer, you want to play at the highest level and obviously that is the Champions League.
“We do know how difficult it is to get there, especially going through these four qualifying rounds.
“But it is important for the club that they do get to the Champions League. It just sets up your season and makes you a better player, because you are playing against the best.
“We want to be playing at the highest level and that is where you learn the most as a footballer. The key for us is to try to get to the highest level that we can.
“So, we need to turn up and put in a good enough performance to see us through then we’ll look at the next game.
“It is the same message from us. It is one game at a time. This is our biggest game because it is the next one on the calendar.
“We have to do everything right, hopefully progress and then we’ll see what happens from there.”
The Hoops’ challenge in Europe collapsed twice in the east end of Glasgow last season with a dreadful 4-3 loss to the Romanians of Cluj to drop out of the top tournament and then 3-1 against FC Copenhagen to tumble out of the Europa League.
McGregor insists the club have learned from these disastrous outcomes and added: “It’s important you always learn from nights like that and important that we remember that feeling. We don’t want to be feeling like that again.
“It was obviously hugely disappointing that Cluj came to Celtic Park and scored four. We know that we can’t be that open in these games.
“The overriding feeling was one of huge disappointment.
“I thought we played well enough in the game on the night to win it. It was a bit of a strange night in terms of the goals we conceded, as well.
“There’s a wee reminder in there that you need a bit of luck on these nights. It was a crazy night of football.
“It was hugely disappointing to go out. One of the goals at this club is to get Champions League football and, when you suffer a setback like that, you are going to be disappointed. You take those experiences and if you can learn from them you can do better.”
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