SWEDISH star Mikael Lustig has admitted he is a fan of Celtic’s Local Heroes.
The international defender reckons homegrown talent such as Kieran Tierney, Callum McGregor, James Forrest and the emerging Ryan Christie has provided a tartan backbone to the team in recent weeks.
Skipper Scott Brown and prolific hitman Leigh Griffiths have been forced onto the sidelines through injuries, but the members of the Scottish connection have rallied to the cause.
Lustig has nothing but praise for Scotland the Rave as the Hoops have taken over at the top of the Premiership for the first time this season, are gearing up to face Aberdeen in the Betfred League Cup Final at Hampden on December 2 and could be on their way to a remarkable treble treble.
TOUCHLINE TERROR…James Forrest has been in scintillating form.
Forrest, who thumped in four glorious goals in the 6-0 romp over St Johnstone in Perth last month, is in a rich seam of form while Tierney has stormed back to his best.
McGregor has taken over Brown’s anchor role in the past five games and is performing as though he has played in the position throughout his career.
And Christie, who has just agreed a new three-year deal at the Hoops, is at last displaying the talents that brought him to the club in the first place.
Lustig praised Brendan Rodgers’ Scots and said: “It’s not just lately. For as long as they have been playing, they have made a contribution.
“Of course, as a fan you, want to see people who have been raised at the club.
Mr DEPENDABLE…Kieran Tierney is back to his brilliant best.
“To have players such as KT, Cal and Jamesie brought up with the club at heart is massive. They know everything about the club and can pass that on to others coming into the system from other teams or abroad.”
The experienced right-back added: “Even when he was not in the team, I’ve always said Cal was one of the most important players in the squad and now he’s in there and starting every game.
“He has proved how much he has developed under the gaffer. What’s his best role? He has four or five! That’s why I’ve said he is a really important guy to have. Players like that make the gaffer really happy.
“Jamesie has been flying and when he’s on form there’s no better player in Scotland in my view. KT is KT. He is never going to have a bad game.
“Now you can add Ryan to that list. He’s been brilliant.”
MIGHTY MAC…Callum McGregor has been a revelation in the anchor role. Pics: Geo.
The Hoops aces will now switch their focus from club to country with the crucial European Nations League encounters with Albania away on Saturday and Israel at Hampden a week tonight.
Lustig added: “I wouldn’t be surprised if they all played for Scotland, but I’m not going to pick the team. Of course, they wouldn’t let anyone down.
“With Celtic, it’s now us and Leipzig in a fight for second in our Europa League group. We’re doing well domestically, but we want to prove we can do it in Europe, too.”
Tierney and Co will be there to fly the flag as Celtic hope to gatecrash European competition in 2019.