CALLUM McGREGOR left Ibrox with a positive outlook after Celtic had twice surrendered the lead to settle for a 3-3 draw.

It was an eventful comeback for the Hoops skipper as he returned as a 65th-minute substitute for Reo Hatate  after missing four consecutive games with an Achilles problem.

Twenty-one minutes later, McGregor played a ball inside that was intercepted by Dujan Sterling and eventually led to the hosts’ equaliser which, unfortunately, deflected off the captain to swirl past the helpless Joe Hart.

The inspirational midfielder helped to atone only 71 seconds later with a smart ball out of defence to fellow-substitute Paul Bernardo who drove at the retreating rearguard before passing to Adam Idah who snapped up his first derby strike to make it 3-2 for the visitors.

Celtic were forced to accept a solitary point when Rabbi Matondo levelled in stoppage time.

ENDGAME…Callum McGregor wipes the sweat away after his comeback at Ibrox.

McGregor watched a one-sided first-half from the bench with the Hoops racing to a two-goal advantage with a quickfire effort from Daizen Maeda and a cute penalty-kick from Matt O’Riley.

The 30-year-old Scotland international anchorman said: “The team performance was as good as I’ve seen here. In terms of performance, staying calm and showing composure, the football we played was outstanding.

“The only criticism is that we maybe don’t get the third goal to give us more comfort in the game.

“Second-half, we showed good personality to get through the sticky spells, as well. We played with big energy and big ability and the only criticism that we have is that we didn’t go three or four up, even at half-time because we were so good in the game.

“The midfield were superb, but the whole team was outstanding. We had the confidence to play through the pitch and we were also a real threat at the top end.

“Sometimes you’ve got to see the bigger picture. It’s always a tough game when you come here and probably the disappointment will be that we’ve drawn after being so positive and being so good in the game.”

McGregor, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “There is probably a bit of disappointment on the bus, but we’ll dust ourselves down and look forward to the run-in.

“The positive is that the boys were so good. We played with big personality and quality and we’ve come out of here in a positive place.

OH NO…Callum McGregor holds his head in his hands after his deflection from Abdulah Sima’s shot had gifted the Ibrox club their second goal.

”It’s a big game when you come here. You want to be involved and help the group as much as you can. I never quite made it from the start, but I wanted to be here and if I’d missed the game I’d have been devastated.

“Obviously, those decisions lie with the manager. I spoke to him on Friday and he gave me the call. That was fine.

“It’s always about the team, it’s never about me personally and wanting to play in the game. It’s about what’s best for the team and trying to help the lads as much as I can.

“There’s not much room to breathe out there, is there? It’s good to be back.”

The influential middle-of-the-park performer added: “You know the game is going to turn at some point when you come here.

“They are a good side, as well, they get the ball forward and once the crowd get involved in the game, it can be difficult.

“Now we’ll see how we go. I’ve had very little training, but I’m just trying to get up to speed and be involved in as many games as I can.

“I’ll be giving everything to try to play in as many as I can between now and the end of the season.

“We have to give our absolute maximum to win as many of them as we can. They are all big games, but obviously when you look at this Rangers fixture, there’s one to go.

“It falls with us being at home and we’ve got to try to take as much advantage of that as possible. It’s still in our hands in terms of the games that will play out.

“We’ve left here in a positive place.”

The countdown to the crown continues on Saturday afternoon when St Mirren are the visitors and three points are an absolute must for Scotland’s title kings.


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