BRENDAN RODGERS has compared Celtic’s Europa League matchwinner to Chelsea hero Frank Lampard.

The Hoops boss praised the Scotland international midfielder’s all-round performance in the 1-0 victory over Zenit St Petersburg  in the Europa League first leg at Parkhead on Thursday night.

McGregor, 24, hasn’t hit the consistent form of last season’s Invincible clean sweep campaign and has been left on the substitutes’ bench for several games.

But Rodgers believes the rest has helped to recharge the batteries of the player.

He said: “His goal reminds me of a goal Frank Lampard scored at Stamford Bridge against Bayern Munich in the Champions League in 2005.

“The ball came over and he had to swivel on his left-hand side to finish it from a really difficult angle. That was like Callum’s goal because he had to go up and swivel on his right foot and then finish.

“Callum was absolutely outstanding on Thursday. He can play in a number of positions and he plays them all to a very high level. We played him off the front to support, but also in the midfield so we had four v three.

“He finds space very, very well and he is a goal threat. I remember looking at the team before I came in and Callum was a young player who scored big goals in big games.

“Sometimes it might not have been enough to go through or to qualify, but he has always had the ability to score big goals and he has shown that throughout my time here as well. He is an outstanding young player.”

Rodgers added: “What is important is the squad. We have really talented players, but we have a lot of games to play. We need a big squad because you can’t play in every single game.

“Callum has played in a lot of big games. I took him out the team for a wee bit because he was playing a lot because of the injuries to the players who are similar to him, Tom Rogic and Stuart Armstrong and these guys.

“Callum wasn’t getting a rest and so we took him out to get him fit and fresh, so we could slowly introduce him again.

“On Thursday, he was absolutely brilliant.”


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