CALLUM McGREGOR will play his 58th European tie against Lazio in Rome this evening.

The Celtic midfielder will line up alongside 34-year-old skipper Scott Brown for the crucial Europa League Group E game at the Olympic Stadium where a win will virtually guarantee a place in the competition’s knock-out stages next year.

The former Scotland international captain will again lead the way for the Parkhead men while Neil Lennon has already stated it will be McGregor who will take the armband some day.

HEAVEN’S ABOVE…Scott Brown looks skywards after his first goal against Hibs while Callum McGregor celebrates with Christopher Jullien and James Forrest.

McGregor, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “I am trying to learn as much as I can from him so eventually, if he ever does stop playing, I can do it.

“But you know what he’s like. Peter Pan!

“He seems to be getting better every week. He is outscoring me and he has 10 years on me.
“Seriously, to be playing in there alongside Broony has been a massive learning curve for me in terms of everything else, preparation, trying to help the team as well as focusing on your own game.

“I don’t think there’s many better to learn from. Whenever he isn’t playing, I try to step in and do that job. At this point in my career you start to watch him and watch what he does.”

McGregor pledged his future to the champions when he agreed a five-year extension yesterday and he revealed he received a text message from ex-boss Brendan Rodgers.

BACK ON THE NET…Callum McGregor turns away after scoring Celtic’s second goal against Hibs.

The engine-room operator had been linked with a reunion with the Irishman at Leicester City in the summer, but he added: “It wasn’t really on my mind. Since the season started I have been playing every three days and just been focusing on my job.

“It’s nice to get that interest. I had a good relationship with the previous manager. He goes away and there’s that link that he wants you.

“It’s nice as it shows you were doing something right for the time he was here. You take it as a compliment, but as soon as it passed, I have been totally focused on football and let everything else take care of itself. I wasn’t really that up or down. It was about getting fit and taking it from there.

“You obviously see Kieran doing so well down at Arsenal. He’s made that step and naturally you will look at it and think: I do fancy a bit of that at some point.

“He [Rodgers] texted me just to say: Congratulations, you really deserve it. He said he was happy for me. I just sent him a text back saying: Thanks very much for everything you have done for me as well.”



About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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