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‘IT ISN’T CRICKET,’ THE SECRET OF THE TEAM THAT BEAT THE LISBON LIONS, McGREGOR SENSES INVINCIBILITY

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CALLUM McGREGOR has admitted that in all the years he has been at Celtic, the last few weeks have been the best.

Back to back goals against Sevco Rangers at Hampden in the Scottish Cup and in front of the Celtic support at the start of the second half at Ibrox last Saturday has surely won over the last remaining doubters for a player who over the past few years wasn’t short of critics within our own support.

Earlier this week he starred in the release of the new Celtic home kit for next season which is a tribute to a group of players that no-one would criticise for their achievements in the hoops. The Lisbon Lions, 50 years on, are still contributing to the club. This strip is set to break all sales records and with the revenue strengthen the hand that manager Brendan Rodgers has in the summer as he looks at putting together a decent European campaign 50 years on from the Lions’ glorious afternoon in the heat of Lisbon.

Talking about the new home kit, young McGregor certainly realizes the significance.

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“It’s amazing. It’s a lovely strip and obviously with the significance of it, people are still talking about it 50 years on and it’s going to be a part of this club forever. So to wear that badge and go out and perform in the strip is an incredible feeling.

“The Lions such an iconic group of players and coming through the system here, they are spoken about all the time. I think it will be the same forevermore and just to have the right to wear the badge is incredible.

“You still see Clarky every day up at Lennoxtown and just to be around guys like that is an honour for us. We use that inspiration to go on and hopefully do something similar this season – that would be incredible.”

McGregor has maybe in the back of his mind Celtic completing an historic Treble at Hampden at the end of the month and also seeing through the remaining league matches, starting this afternoon against St Johnstone, by remaining undefeated. A Treble and an invincible season would certainly be a fitting tribute to the Lisbon Lions from the Celtic players from five decades later.

“It’s the old cliché of one game at a time and that’s what we’re going to have to look to starting on Saturday. We can go into that and hopefully do well.”

It is one game at a time but the Invincible record, something the Lions themselves didn’t even achieve, would be remarkable at McGregor and all the other player know it.

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The Lions lost twice to Dundee United that season and as Jim Craig told CQN, they also lost to East Kilbride at cricket! That seemed to annoy Jim who was the only half decent cricketer in the Lions squad.

“There are five games to go and I just want the games to keep coming now,” McGregor said. “It’s like that as a player when you are doing well and scoring goals. You just want to keep playing and keep the games going.

“When you’re in the team, you need to keep doing well to stay in it and obviously you want to be a part of that day as well. So I’m sure all of the players between now and then will be doing their best to keep in the manager’s thoughts for it.

“Every game for Celtic is a massive game, but with one eye on the cup final, you want to make sure you are in the team that day. We have a big squad and everybody has played their part.

“Players have come in and had great performances and then back out and in again. So that’s been the strength of us this season in that we’ve managed to keep everybody happy, everybody on side and everybody performing well.”

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