JOHN HARTSON admits he is an admirer of Callum McGregor and the former Celtic goal hero is confident the midfielder will play a captain’s role in the five-game run-in to the title.

The Hoops’ domestic run over of over 30 unbeaten games came to an abrupt end at Hampden on Sunday as they toppled out of the Scottish Cup.

However, the main prize in the shape of the Premiership is still up for grabs with the team six points ahead with five matches to play, starting with Ross County in Dingwall on Sunday afternoon.

WRESTLEMANIA…Callum McGregor is halted in novel fashion by Joe Aribo.

Questions are being asked of Ange Postecoglou’s men after a dismal performance at the national stadium, but Welsh legend Hartson insists serial winner McGregor is the type of onfield leader the team can reply on to bring home the tenth crown in 11 years.

The former fans’ favourite said: “Celtic just need to keep their focus now and do what they have been doing for most of the season.

“I have so much admiration for Callum and how he has taken the armband on.

“He is a fantastic professional and a great leader and this week I am sure that he will be at Lennoxtown and rallying the lads for the game at the weekend.

“Sunday has gone and it is all about pushing for the title now.”

Hartson, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “I still reckon it has been a magnificent season when you think of what Ange took over when he first came in.

THANK YOU…Callum McGregor and Anthony Ralston applaud the fans for their efforts at Hampden on Sunday.

“To be six points clear with five games to go, and a goal difference of 19, is a strong position to be in.

“Celtic need to make sure they don’t get too affected by Sunday’s result.

“They have already won the League Cup and they are in a very strong position to go and wrap up the title. And, if they go and win the double, then I think that Ange would deserve massive credit.”

Reflecting on the stumble at Hampden that blew he chance of a remarkable clean sweep in Postecoglou’s debut campaign after arriving in June, Hartson added: “Yes there is disappointment because there was a lot of treble talk. Over the piece on Sunday, I thought the game could really have gone either way.

“Rangers made it happen in the second-half of extra-time, but if Cameron Carter-Vickers had kept his shot on target the game would have been over. Rangers found that little bit of energy and I think there were a few calls that went in their favour, too, over the course of the game.

“I won’t sound bitter and say that Celtic deserved it and Rangers didn’t. I thought Rangers edged it and I think Celtic can play an awful lot better.

“But I do think that the game hinged on a couple of big decisions and a few big moments. As I said, if Carter-Vickers scores that chance, it is game over.”

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