Callum McGregor insists Celtic will not rest on their laurels

Celtic's Callum McGregor opened the scoring in the 4-0 win over Hearts on Sunday. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS
Celtic's Callum McGregor opened the scoring in the 4-0 win over Hearts on Sunday. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS
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Callum McGregor is wary of the threat posed to Celtic’s unbeaten domestic run by Aberdeen but insists there will be no easing off by the Scottish champions as they attempt to set a record which will stand the test of time.

Having passed the Lisbon Lions’ landmark of 26 domestic matches unbeaten from the start of a season with their 4-0 win over Hearts on Sunday, Brendan Rodgers’ side will look to extend the sequence against the in-form Dons at Celtic Park tonight.

Midfielder McGregor is confident there will be no drop in motivation levels by Celtic,
regardless of the 22-point lead they enjoy at the top of the 
Premiership table as they cruise towards a sixth successive title triumph.

“What we’re aiming for now is to try and create a record than can never be broken,” said McGregor. “That’s what we’re driving for. It’s good to have targets like that because it gives you an extra edge to your game. But, as professionals, we want to win every game anyway.

“Aberdeen will be another test for us and they are coming
off the back of a great result against Dundee on Friday night. I watched the game and they were excellent. So they will come here full of confidence. Every team will want to be the first to beat us this season so we have to be careful and approach every game the same so nobody comes and does it.

“Our manager is relentless and that was his message after the game. It’s great that we’ve broken the record but now can we stretch it and go unbeaten
for as long as we possibly can? It will be tough but we’ll just look at the next game and 
prepare properly for that and see where that takes us.

“Obviously, it’s a massive achievement for us to break a record which stood for 50 years and it’s great to even be mentioned in the same breath as the Lisbon Lions. They were the most successful team Celtic have ever had and, as a young kid coming through the youth system, you hear everybody talking about them.

“So for us to go 27 games unbeaten from the start of the season is unbelievable and maybe in 50 or 60 years people will be talking about the run that we went on.”

McGregor played a key role in setting the record, scoring the opening goal against Hearts on a day he was initially due to start on the substitutes’ bench. Following an injury to Stuart Armstrong during the pre-match warm-up, however, the 23-year-old was promoted to the starting line-up at short notice.

“It was nice to have a part in making history, playing and getting on the scoresheet,” added McGregor. “I only found out I was playing a couple of minutes before the warm-up finished so then it was all about trying to focus on the game. Sometimes that can be difficult because it’s a different mindset being on the bench but, once you get the call, you have to focus on the job.

“The gaffer names his team just before the game so it’s not as though I went to bed on 
Saturday night thinking I wasn’t going to play.

“When my chance came, my main concern was to try and make my first touch past their back four and then it sat up nicely for me to stick it away. Everyone was aware of the record but we had to put it to the back of our minds and just make sure we got the right result, knowing we’d break the record if we did.

“First and foremost, though, we were just trying to win the game. For us as a group the reason we’ve been so successful is that we’re just relentless. We go into every game preparing properly and trying to win.”