Ange Postecoglou reveals which Celtic player he was lucky to walk straight into

Ange Postecoglou has hailed Callum McGregor’s contribution after the new manager-skipper pairing lifted the first major trophy of their nascent partnership.

Celtic captain Callum McGregor lifts the Premier Sports Cup.
Celtic captain Callum McGregor lifts the Premier Sports Cup.

McGregor has now won 15 major honours with Celtic but this was his maiden title since taking over the armband on a permanent basis from Aberdeen-bound Scott Brown.

Postecolgou hailed the player’s influence and stressed how important McGregor’s leadership has been to him in his first season as manager at Celtic Park. The midfielder has not let the extra responsibility negatively affect his displays. If anything, he has taken inspiration from something Postecoglou believes he was born to do.

He was certainly born to win Hampden finals – Sunday was the 14th consecutive time McGregor has finished on the winning side, the first four occasions coming with the Celtic youth side. It is a phenomenal record.

“Outstanding,” said the Australian when asked to describe McGregor’s latest display after Sunday’s 2-1 win over Hibs at Hampden. “He is an outstanding player. You get luck in your career sometimes and I certainly did walking in here and having a ready-made leader like him.

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“I didn’t have to do anything. It was almost like he was born to be in that moment. He took over the leadership of this football club and knows exactly what the expectations are, what the standards are, because he drives them every day in training.

“He drives them off the field and, you know, this is his team now. He gets to lift his first trophy and he is a very deserving individual.”

Postecoglou also had words of praise for Mikey Johnston, another Celtic academy product who caught the eye on Sunday, certainly in the opening half. The manager saluted the winger’s desire to play even though he is still returning from injury.

“It’s all-in or nothing and I’ve said that to them from day one whether it’s training or playing, you’ve got to be totally into this,” said Postecoglou.

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“There are at least two or three out there [feeling it]. Mikey Johnston is nowhere near 100 per cent fit but I thought he was outstanding. (It was) real maturity from him to put his injury to one side and contribute to the team. There are a lot of those examples.”