CALLUM McGREGOR has dismissed as “irrelevant” the massive rebuild at Ibrox as Michael Beale attempts to piece together a squad capable of giving Celtic a genuine challenge in the new season.

The champions completed the previous campaign with a seven-point advantage in the Premiership, beat the Ibrox club 2-1 in the League Cup Final and then knocked them out of the Scottish Cup semi-final with a goal from Filipe Jota.

The only consolation for Beale and Co was a win in Govan with four games to play and the crown already in the Parkhead trophy cabinet.

CROWNING GLORY…Callum McGregor and Joe Hart hold aloft Celtic’s eleventh title in 11 years.

There has been a frenzy of transfer activity across the city with nine players being recruited in a desperate bid to derail Brendan Rodgers’ side who are looking at another silverware clean sweep for the ninth time in their history.

Skipper McGregor, who has won five out of six domestic trophies since he took over the armband from club legend Scott Brown two years ago, insisted neither he nor his team-mates should be concerned about what is taking place elsewhere if the Hoops maintain the standards which have seen them dominate the domestic scene for eleven out of the last 12 years.

Asked for his thoughts on the transfer moves of his team’s competitors, the influential midfielder answered: “It’s pretty irrelevant.

“Listen, we know that everybody will be trying to strengthen, every manager and every club will have sat down at the end of the season and tried to pick areas in their group where they can improve.

“We’re no different. We understand that everybody is trying to beat us, so we have to try to stay ahead of the chasing pack. But it becomes irrelevant what everyone else does.

“If we come and we prepare ourselves to work as hard as we can every day – try to produce as good a level of football as we possibly can and show that hunger to win – then all of it is on us.

“It becomes irrelevant what the rest are doing.”

JUST CHAMPION…Callum McGregor and his Celtic team-mate celebrate the title on their way to a glorious treble.

McGregor, speaking to Sky Sports, continued: “It’s something we’ve spoken about already.

“During pre-season, we did a bit on the pitch and a wee bit in the classroom setting, as well, where we’ve had an open forum and tried to speak about the pitfalls of success and how we stay ahead of them – stay ahead of those traps.

“It comes down to the culture and what the players are prepared to accept from each other every day. We come in, we train as hard as we possibly can. We recover, we go home, we rest. And everybody has to pay that price when it comes to the games.

“We all have to be ready and we have a huge responsibility that every time we cross that line for Celtic everybody expects the best of us.

“I think the sooner you realise that and the sooner you understand your mates are here to help you, then the new guys will settle in, they’ll understand that and then they can produce their best football.”

McGregor has welcomed back Brendan Rodgers for hi second stint as the club’s manager after the Irishman led the team to seven successive domestic trophies after arriving first time around in May 2016.

IT’S GOOD TO TALK…Callum McGregor and Tomoki Iwata have an impromptu chat in the 1-1 draw with Wolves.

The inspirational onfield leader added: “It’s a new challenge. The manager has come back and is a fresh face for the boys. It’s slightly different coaching, but most of the day-to-day stuff stays the same.

“We had a really good squad, really successful last season, so it’s about trying to build on that and reset the hunger and determination to come back and continue to prove yourself all the time.

“But the manager has come back in – he’s a top manager – and he understands it. He gets it.

“He gets the players and we’ve had a really positive pre-season, so, of course, we’re looking forward to the league starting on Saturday.

“That’s when it starts for real and we have to be ready.”

McGregor will lead out the team against Ross County for the 12.30pm kick-off on Flag Day in the east end of Glasgow for that kick-off to the annual 38-game marathon.

Click Here for Comments >

About Author