CALLUM McGREGOR celebrated his 400th game for Celtic by leading the champions to a well-deserved 2-0 victory over Dundee United at Tannadice last night.
The 29-year-old captain put in his usual thorough shift as he patrolled the midfield, cajoled the troops when he thought they needed a word of encouragement and basically led by example.
Second-half goals from Filipe Jota and Aaron Mooy, from the penalty spot, maintained the Hoops’ nine-point advantage at the top of the Premiership.
IN CONTROL…Callum McGregor points the way in Celtic’s latest win at Tannadice.
Ange Postecoglou, who guided the team to their 50th league triumph in 61 outings as Parkhead gaffer, joked he now wants another 400 games from his side’s onfield leader.
A beaming McGregor said: “That’s the plan! I’ll keep going until someone tells me to stop!”
If the Scotland international ever needed inspiration he knows where to go to find it – previous owner of the armband Scott Brown.
The club legend made 620 appearances for the Hoops after being brought to the club by Gordon Strachan in a £4.4million move from Hibs in July 2007.
Broony, who is now manager of Fleetwood Town, won 22 honours for Celtic with the current skipper just five adrift.
McGregor said: “That just shows you again how good he was for this club. A real iconic figure who looked after himself and was an ever present for the club.
THE START…Callum McGrgeor leads the team in the pre-match ritual with their Dundee United rivals before the vital 2-0 win at Tannadice.
“That’s massive numbers and it’s a huge testament to him. But I’ve still got enough time. Hopefully, if I stay fit and keep playing well and being hungry to have success and do all the right things, who knows where I will be in five or six years time?
“You just look forward to the next game.
“That is the way you have got to treat it. In modern-day football now, you don’t get a chance to look back and see what you have achieved and it’s just the next game.
“As long as you have that mindset and you just put one foot in front of the other, that is how you rack up these kinds of numbers. So onto the next one.”
McGregor, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “Once you start to rack up these wee milestones, you realise you are doing something right, your preparation is good and your performance is good.
“As long as I stay on that track and stay hungry and fit and healthy, I’m hoping to make a few more.”
THE END…Dundee United boss Liam Fox sportingly shakes Callum McGregor’s hand.
Team-mate Mooy offers his captain glowing praise when he says: “He’s the one who holds us all together and gets us going before every game and training session.
“He’s great player. It’s a fantastic achievement, 400 games for Celtic. It comes with a lot of responsibility, so he should be very proud of himself.”
McGregor added: “It is always nice when people speak well about you, but the main guy you are trying to impress on a daily basis is the manager.
“He is the guy who picks the team, he is the guy who is heading the club, so for him to say nice things is a really good feeling.
“The gaffer doesn’t hand out praise too often, he likes to keep people on their toes! You know when you are doing well and when the manager picks you then you are doing something right.
“Sometimes when you praise people too much they become comfortable and he likes not letting that happen. It has worked well so far, so as long as we are winning and playing well then we are happy.”