CALLUM McGREGOR insists the pain from the calamitous collapse against Kilmarnock will add to Celtic’s motivation to overcome Feyenoord at Parkhead tonight.
Unfortunately, the final Champions League Group E encounter is meaningless in regard to remaining in European competition after Christmas, but the Hoops captain is convinced pride and true grit will carry them through on this occasion.
Worryingly, the team faded under a determined siege against the Ayrshire outfit at Rugby Park where the hosts fought back from a one-sided first-half in which Matt O’Riley had claimed a deserved goal. Derek McInnes’ team managed to turn the confrontation on its head to cut the Hoops’ advantage to five points at the top of the table.
UNDER PRESSURE…Callum McGregor is challenged by a determined Liam Donnelly in Celtic Rugby Park setback.
Brendan Rodgers’ men wilted alarmingly and an awful own goal from Nat Phillips in the 75th minute threw the hosts a lifeline and Matty Kennedy claimed the winner 12 minutes later.
Celtic have a lot to prove this evening with a few reputations on the line and McGregor said defiantly: “We don’t have anything to play for, but every game is massive when you represent Celtic, especially after Sunday’s result.
“Everyone is hurting and when you get the chance to play in a Champions League game for Celtic you don’t need any more motivation than that.
“We have a lot to prove and I see a group that is ready to put on a big performance and try and get that win that we want.
“We still want to approach it as if we have everything on the line, as when you cross that white line you have to play as if it’s your last game for Celtic.
“We understand we want to be competitive and when we get to this level we have to make an impact.
“Everyone at this club knows that and a win gives us that belief and, hopefully, you’re back next season and can kick on from there.”
BALL BHOY…Callum McGregor will be focused against Feyenoord in the latest Champions League challenge.
McGregor, speaking to Celtic TV, added: “There shouldn’t be anything that surprises us as we understand what the game requires and the level we have to be at to perform.
“Feyenoord have been strong and they have been unlucky not to get through the group.
“We have to bring a level of performance that gets the fans off their feet.
“When the team and support give everything it’s a special combination which makes it tough for top teams here.
“We have to get the supporters involved in the game and if we do that they will bring their unwavering support for the team.”
* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v Feyenoord this evening – only in your champion CQN.