Callum McGregor: Celtic players faced Rangers with illness

Callum McGregor celebrates after scoring the fifth Celtic goal  against Rangers.
Callum McGregor celebrates after scoring the fifth Celtic goal against Rangers.
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Callum McGregor has rubbed salt in Rangers’ wounds by revealing several Celtic players were suffering with illness in Sunday’s record Old Firm league 
victory.

The Celtic midfielder scored the last of his side’s goals in the 5-0 win. But he was among those he suggested were not 100 per cent fit at the start of the game. McGregor claimed a bug meant he and some teammates were laid low on the morning of the fixture. However, knowledge of what was at stake meant they shelved these health concerns 
to play.

“There was no way I was going to pull out of a day like this because these are the games you want to play in – especially to go and finish the league off,” he said. “There must have been a wee bug going about because a few of the boys were struggling with the cold, including KT [Kieran Tierney] and Tom Rogic.”

McGregor played the entire 90 minutes, as did Tierney. Rogic was replaced after 67 minutes when the score was already 5-0. “I’m not sure what we would have done if we were all fully fit,” said McGregor. “But it was important after the disappointment of last week. I felt we were waiting on it a wee bit [v Hibs)]but then credit to them for showing up and outworking us.”

McGregor, pictured, stressed Celtic had ignored all pre-game media reports about Steven Gerrard arriving at Rangers to spearhead a bid to 
topple Brendan Rodgers’ side from their perch. “We’re solely focused on what we’re doing,” he said. “You hear different things coming out of different clubs but, as a footballer at Celtic, you have to look at yourself. You don’t listen to any noise coming from anywhere else and that’s why we’ve been so good and so successful because we are focused on our job.

“The manager [Brendan Rodgers] has been relentless since he came in and all the players have taken their performance levels to another level and he puts on demands every day – there’s no lazy days.

“There’s still levels for us to go. Everyone can always get better and that’s the aim. The manager is always on our case.”

Rodgers might be less keen for McGregor to push himself come the end of the domestic season. The midfielder is wanted by Alex McLeish for Scotland’s summer tour to Peru and 
Mexico.

McGregor sounds eager to go but will have to wait to hear Rodgers’ thoughts on the matter ahead of the Champions League qualifiers, which start soon after Scotland are due to return.

“I want to establish myself with Scotland,” said McGregor, who only made his international debut against the Netherlands 
in November last year. “Both managers will have a conversation over the end of season trip, given the quick turnaround and being straight into Champions League games. We’ll talk about that but it’s something I’d definitely look to do.”