CALLUM McGREGOR made it 10 out of 10 as he led Celtic to their 2-1 Viaplay League Cup success over Michael Beale’s Ibrox outfit at Hampden yesterday.
The cultured Hoops captain has played in 10 Cup Finals and won every single one of them.
You could even add five as a youth team player and he emerged triumphant in all five of those occasions, too.
A beaming McGregor said: “It’s not a bad record, is it? They all matter, but this one did feel something special.
ROARING SUCCESS…victorious captain Callum McGregor holds aloft the League Cup as Celtic players celebrate another trophy success at Hampden.
“I think this one is up there as one of the sweetest.
“When you get to Finals you’re desperate to win. Throw into them the fact that it’s Rangers and it goes up another notch. It was nice to do it the way we did, as well. I thought we were outstanding in the first-half.
“We played some terrific football. In the second-half, we had to dig in and show a different side, but overall I was delighted for the players.”
Kyogo Furuhashi proved to be the difference again as he had done the previous season in the 2-1 victory over Hibs in the Final of the same competition.
His strikes shot down bombastic claims before the encounter from opposition winger Fashion Sakala that they were “the better club, the better team.”
Such folly was bound to come back and bite the Zambian and it happened in front of a worldwide audience.
TRUE GRIT…Callum McGrgeor challenges Ryan Kent for possession.
McGregor, though, had refused to get involved in such silliness off the field and said: “As a club, we want to do our talking on the pitch and I think we did that. More often than not you hear these comments coming out before big games, but it’s important for us to block it out.
“You can’t affect what anyone else is saying or doing. The gaffer said it doing the week – we only listen to ourselves. The only voices we need are our own and his. We continue to push each other and do our talking on the pitch when it matters.
“Good teams win trophies and they win them consistently. That’s the be all and end all in football.
“You’re tasked to win and judged when you don’t win. If you want to last a long time at these clubs, you have to be successful when the trophies are being handed out.”
McGregor now has 18 of them in his personal trophy cabinet and the beaten Govan players or manager didn’t hang around to see the Cup being presented to the classy midfielder.
THE CUP THAT CHEERS…Callum McGregor and his Celtic team-mates whoop it up at the presentation.
They accepted their runners-up medals and disappeared from view into their own dressing room.
The 29-year-old Scotland international anchorman, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “I don’t want to talk about that. We’re just happy we won the Cup and we did it in our style and the way we wanted to play the game.
“We leave what other clubs do to them, we can’t affect it. I just think it’s important to be humble when you win and show that humility.
“You do the same when you lose and the next time you try to put it right. That’s all you can do in football.
”Every single Final I’ve played in, the opposition have had spells in the games and we’ve had to come through it.
“You have to find a way. You can’t always be dominant for 90 minutes and when the game games you need to find a way to get back into the games.
“The subs really did that or us. They came on and they understood what was required, they were outstanding and really helped us over the line.
PRIZE GUYS…Callum McGregor and Greg Taylor are all smiles at Hampden.
“It was excellent for us to really turn up in a showpiece game and play like we did. That was maybe the next stage of our development, come here and really take the game to them.
“For an hour, we were outstanding. I don’t think they won the ball back once in the press, that tells you how good we were and we could maybe have been up two or three at half-time if we were a bit more clinical.
“The second-half was slightly different, but all aspects of the game were pleasing.”
McGregor already has four trebles on his CV and he knows that could be boosted to five by the conclusion of this crusade.
The champions are nine points clear at the top of the Premiership and will play St Mirren, the only team to inflict a domestic defeat this time out, in Paisley on Sunday while they have a Scottish Cup quarter-final meeting due with Hearts at Tynecastle on March 11.
Asked about the possibility of a silverware clean sweep, McGregor answered: “We hear it all the time!
“But we don’t talk about it. We want to focus on celebrating this one and then we’ll be back in and the preparation will be for St Mirren at the weekend.
“A nine-point lead is only good if you win your games. We’ll get back to work and keep driving it home until someone tells us to stop.”
That’s the difference between class and style – you can’t buy class.