Neil Lennon will deserve as much credit for eighth title as Brendan Rodgers, says Callum McGregor

Callum McGregor is nominated for the Scottish PFA Player of the Year. Picture: Jeff Holmes
Callum McGregor is nominated for the Scottish PFA Player of the Year. Picture: Jeff Holmes
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Neil Lennon’s Celtic future may still be unclear but Callum McGregor insists he will be equally instrumental to an eighth successive title win as Brendan Rodgers.

After frustratingly dropping some points to delay the inevitable, Celtic only need one more to complete the job as they head to Pittodrie on Saturday.

Rodgers set them on course before jumping ship when Leicester City came calling but McGregor feels that when the flag is secured, 
Lennon will deserve the same level of praise.

The midfield star, shortlisted for PFA Scotland Player of the Year, said: “A lot of the work was done by Brendan, but to come in after the shock of what happened, the gaffer re-stabilised the club.

“We’ve been winning games, we’re still unbeaten under him, so to steady the ship, he’s been absolutely brilliant.

“I think it’s as much his title, it’s a team effort. Everyone at Lennoxtown has played their part, that’s why we’ve been so successful.

“The coaching staff, everybody at Lennoxtown, the manager coming in and stabilising the place and then the players putting all the ideas out there on to the pitch and getting the wins and performances. It’s a real collective for us.”

McGregor, voted Celtic Player of the Year last weekend, feels he is enjoying his best season and believes Lennon was a huge influence when he was manager first time around.

He feels Lennon’s decision to send him on loan to Notts County proved to be a godsend.

He said: “As a young player coming through, he was always hard on the players, but he was always fair as well.

“At the time when I was trying to breakthrough at 17 or 18, there was some really top players in that midfield at the peak of their career, so it was always going to be difficult trying to get in.

“The team were doing so well, we had Champions League football, so the decision for me to go on loan came from the gaffer being able to see that the talent was there, but it just needed nurturing.

“If I had never gone away, I might not be sitting here today, so I think everything in your career happens for a reason and the gaffer was a vital part of that sending me away to learn.

“I think it is my best season in terms of everything coming together, consistency, and the amount of games as well.

“I think I’ve played 90 minutes over 60 times, so it’s a lot of football along with international football as well.

“So, I definitely feel as if I’m getting towards the peak of my career.

“I feel a more rounded 
player. I’ve added that defensive side of it and reading the game and being able to help the team, that way as well.

“Each year I keep progressing as a player, getting better and better, and I’m happy to keep learning and becoming a better player.”

Of course, Celtic have been shrouded in sorrow in the past week with the passing of Billy McNeill and fellow Lisbon Lion Stevie Chalmers.

McGregor says it has only made them more determined to seal the deal on Saturday.

He said: “To lose Billy and then Stevie has been really emotional and obviously the club is highly charged with that emotion just now.

“It’s good to try and get that focus on the football, and for us as players, to try and deliver that tribute on the pitch is the best tribute we can make, and we want to make the club proud as well.”