Celtic don't want to go down road of making excuses - 'we'll dust ourselves down'

Callum McGregor knows there can be no sugar-coating the level of dismay felt by Celtic at their failure to overcome a makeshift St Mirren side in Paisley on Wednesday night.

Celtic captain Callum McGregor was left frustrated by his team's failure to convert any of their opportunities in the 0-0 draw against St Mirren in Paisley. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Celtic captain Callum McGregor was left frustrated by his team's failure to convert any of their opportunities in the 0-0 draw against St Mirren in Paisley. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

In their pursuit of Rangers in the Premiership title race, the goalless draw was an untimely and unexpected setback which leaves them six points behind their Old Firm rivals at the halfway stage of the campaign.

But while Celtic captain McGregor is up front about the frailties in his team’s display which saw them unable to convert their dominance into goals, he also believes there is justification in observing the bigger picture when it comes to the progress made under Ange Postecoglou’s management since the start of the season.

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Celtic are now unbeaten in their last 13 Premiership games and have lost just once in 18 matches in all competitions, a run which includes their Premier Sports Cup Final win and securing European football after the turn of the year in the Europa Conference League play-offs.

Celtic captain Callum McGregor fires in a shot amid the attention of St Mirren defenders Marcus Fraser and Charles Dunne during the 0-0 draw in Paisley. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

“We can’t get too carried away and focus on the one result against St Mirren,” said McGregor. “We’ve been winning a lot of games for a long time now and we’ve been consistent over a period of time.

“We’ve been looking like the team we want to be. We want to add a bit of quality to that in the moments we need.

“But it’s been a good body of work over the period so far, in terms of where we started to where we are. So we need to stay calm and stay focused.

“In football, if you ever need a reminder of what the game can do, that was it the other night in Paisley. You go from winning the cup at Hampden on Sunday to that.

“It was really frustrating – we had enough opportunities, enough chances to win the game. We need to be more ruthless, we shouldn’t need ten chances to win a game.

“But we know exactly where we are as a group and where we want to get to. There’s still a lot of work to do to get there.”

A lengthy injury list has exposed the lack of strength in depth in a Celtic squad which will be reinforced during the January transfer window.

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“There’s no bones about it, we are struggling for bodies,” added McGregor. “Losing quality players does affect you and what you are trying to do.

“But we are not a team that wants to go down the road of making excuses. When someone gets injured, it’s an opportunity for other players. That’s the way we have to look at it.”

Before the rescheduled winter break begins next week, Celtic will look to end their year on a positive note when they face bottom of the table St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park on Boxing Day.

“Do we want to go into the break on a high? Absolutely,” said McGregor. “We’ll dust ourselves down. It was obviously a disappointing result on Wednesday night but psychologically it doesn’t change anything too much.

“We still want to go out on a high and then we know how important the games are when we start back. We want to rectify the other night come the end of the month.”

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