CALLUM McGREGOR reckons Celtic are BETTER prepared for this season as they attempt to carry on picking up silverware.

The Scotland international midfielder played a key role in the team’s double treble-winning campaign last time out – and is looking to stage an action replay in the new season.

McGregor, 25, is preparing for another clean sweep with the rest of his team-mates at the Hoops’ training camp in the Austria and is likely to play at least part of the first pre-season game against SK Vorwarts Steyr early this evening.

He said: “On holiday, you sit back and take in exactly what happened. The incredible scenes on the last day of the season when we came up the Celtic Way with all the fans on the open-top bus, you take a second to realise what has happened.

“It was a good reflection period, but as soon as we started back again, it’s foot to the floor, trying to impress and doing all the same things.

“When you get those goals and play well in big games, then you feel that pressure to go and do it again. Can I go and get those goals and affect the games? It’s a good challenge and one I’m looking forward to.”

After tonight’s match, Brendan Rodgers’ men will then take on Bohemians Prague, Sparta Prague and Shamrock Rovers, before embarking on competitive action when they Armenian outfit Alashkert in the Champions League first qualifying round.

HAPPINESS IS…scoring against Sevco Rangers. Callum McGregor celebrates his strike in last season’s Scottish Cup semi-final rout. Pic: Geo.

McGregor emphasised the importance of these four friendly fixtures towards attaining full match sharpness.

He said: “Especially on the back of the last two pre-seasons, everyone has come back to a good level of fitness and you can tell with the intensity of the sessions that the boys are a lot fitter than they were perhaps two years ago.

“They are just as important in terms of fitness levels. We obviously have big games coming up as we’re straight into the Champions League qualifiers, so we have to be at peak fitness and we have to try and get as much out of these pre-season games as we can in terms of fitness and game-time for the boys.

“Over the piece, the opponents are getting better each time and it adds to our quality and fitness levels so when we get to that game in Armenia, we’ll be flying.”

He added: “It’s been a quick four weeks, but you miss it straight away. As soon as a week or two weeks passes, you’re desperate to get back out on the grass and back into the games.”

* McGregor was speaking to the official Celtic website.

* DON’T miss ‘Celtic: The History Bhoys’, the celebration of Brendan Rodgers’ two treble-winning seasons at the club – PLUS the clean sweep years of Jock Stein, 1966/67 and 1968/69, and Martin O’Neill, 2000/01. Buy last season’s production and get a 16-page update on the Hoops’ second successive unforgettable campaign absolutely FREE! That’s a 116-page glorious souvenir of the club’s most unforgettable seasons. Written by ALEX GORDON and crammed with over 150 photographs and all the statistics of all five of the most spectacular years in Celtic’s proud heritage. Priced at only £6.95 plus £3.95 postage and packing, you can order your copy at:

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