Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport

Celtic must stay humble to beat Hearts and seal treble treble, warns McGregor


One way: Callum McGregor will treat final like any other game
One way: Callum McGregor will treat final like any other game

By Robert Jones

Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor says the players are excited by the prospect of the treble treble but need to treat the Cup final like every other game.

With the League Cup and the Premiership already secured, victory over Hearts in Saturday's Scottish Cup final would bring the Bhoys an unprecedented third consecutive clean sweep of trophies.

McGregor conceded that the prize on offer was a motivator to the players but said that keeping to the normal routines had brought success in the past and wouldn't change in the countdown to the Hampden final.

"We treat it the same," he said. "We know it's a big game but our success has been built on just turning up, being prepared, respecting the opponent and treating every match the same.

"The message inside the building doesn't change whether it's this week or last week.

"I think (it is a motivator). The clear focus is the game at the weekend, and with the league fixtures finished everyone is looking forward to the big end to the season.

"But for us we have to keep our feet on the ground, keep that humbleness and keep working hard in training. It does excite you, and there's a wee bit extra in the game, but I'm sure the boys will be professional about it."

The final won't mark the end of the season for McGregor, who is certain to be in new Scotland boss Steve Clarke's squad to face Cyprus and Belgium. The midfielder welcomed the appointment of the former Kilmarnock manager and said that he could be the man to be a long-term success in the hotseat.

"It's a good appointment," he said. "Everyone's excited by it and it's got the nation talking again. It's very positive for our frame of mind going into these two games. His organisation is excellent and hopefully he can bring that to Scotland.

"Everyone has to get behind the nation. These two games coming up are big games but we also need to look at the bigger picture in terms of building this campaign and the next one.

"You choose a manager and you hope for instant success. But if you look at the other home nations it was grown over a period of time and hopefully we can get to that standard and reach a major tournament."

Celtic legend Stiliyan Petrov says the club and caretaker manager Neil Lennon must act decisively to come to a resolution on the Ulsterman's future.

Following Brendan Rodgers' mid-season move to Leicester City, Lennon took the reins at Celtic Park and guided his side to their eighth consecutive title despite a strong challenge from Steven Gerrard's Rangers.

With the Scottish Cup final against Hearts to come on Saturday, Lennon was serenaded by fans singing 'There's only one Neil Lennon' as they beat the same opponents 2-1 in the final league game of the season.

Petrov said: "Everyone is talking about whether Lenny will get the job but he has to analyse it and see if it's a good job for him.

"It's not just from the club's side but for Lenny as well. Managers have different ways of working. Lenny is completely different from Brendan Rodgers and he's inherited a squad built by Brendan Rodgers.

"If he is to continue then they have to sit and analyse where the club is going. What do they do about Rangers closing the gap? What do they have to do to make an impact in European football again? What do they have to add to the squad?"

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph