GUTTED Callum McGregor insists watching the title leave Parkhead for the first time in a decade will “fuel the fire” for Celtic to come roaring back next season.
The club’s vice-captain has been flag happy at the conclusion of every campaign since Ronny Deila introduced the midfielder to the first team in 2014/15.
This term, though, the Scotland international has suffered along with everyone connected with the Hoops in a disastrous term that saw them fire blanks again in the dreary goalless and soulless stalemate against Dundee United at Tannadice yesterday that saw the championship official go elsewhere.
McGregor and his team-mates face Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox side a week on Sunday and have the opportunity to wreck the Govan club’s hopes of going through the league season unbeaten.
Unfortunately, the anchorman netted the only goal of the game on January 2 when he deflected a right-wing corner-kick beyond Vasilis Barkas as the champions’ hold on the silverware began to loosen.
McGregor, speaking to Sky Sports News, said: “We’ve been so used to success and when you experience this it’s sore, everyone sees it. To watch them lift the trophy will be sore and will fuel the fire for next season.
“Everyone’s hurting. The fans will be hurting, as well. It’s the end of that nine in a row, but we have to come again.
“The reason we’ve been so good is when we faced setbacks we’ve come back even stronger, so where we are at the moment, we have to look at ourselves, get better in training and come again next season. That’s what champions do.”
The fallen title kings had TWENTY-SEVEN attempts on goal with 12 on target, but apart from efforts from Odsonne Edouard early in the contest and Stephen Welsh’s header after the break, Swiss keeper Benjamin Siegrist’s saves were in the routine catagory.
Diego Laxalt, Mohamed Elyounoussi and Odsonne Edouard were among those who missed gilt-edged opportunities.
McGregor added: “It’s a sore one, to be so dominant in the game. First-half was shot after shot, it really sums up where we are at the minute, lacking that clinical edge we’ve had in seasons gone by.
“The first-half was good, second-half we still created a lot of chances, as well, but it’s a sore one, as well.
“We’ve been getting big numbers regularly in terms of chances, but not putting them away, whether that’s down to confidence in front of goal, it sums up the season.
“We are where we are, we have to keep working, trying to get better and turning those performances into wins.”