Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football Scottish

Hoops don't need Edouard to conquer Gers, insists McGregor


Injury doubt: Odsonne Edouard may miss the Betfred Cup final
Injury doubt: Odsonne Edouard may miss the Betfred Cup final

By Ronnie Esplin

Callum McGregor insists Celtic have the firepower to shoot down Rangers even if Odsonne Edouard is forced to sit out Sunday's Betfred Cup final.

The £9m Frenchman is an injury doubt for the Hampden clash, with boss Neil Lennon admitting he still does not know if the 21-year-old will be fit enough to take on Steven Gerrard's side.

But McGregor - whose team are looking to kick off their bid for an incredible quadruple treble this weekend - is not panicking about being without the 14-goal frontman after watching winger Lewis Morgan and Leigh Griffiths deputise for Edouard up front in recent weeks.

The Scotland midfielder said: "We've got a great squad and that has probably been demonstrated over the last three or four games without Odsonne.

"He is such a big player for us at home and in Europe but Lewis has stepped up and scored the goal against Rennes.

"We've got loads of strength and depth and whoever is asked to play up front on Sunday, I'm sure they'll do a job for the team.

"You can tell Lewis is an intelligent footballer. It was great for him to come in, get his start and his goal last week and you can see he's full of confidence.

"He's been great since he came in and it's another boost for the team to show that when boys come in they are ready to play."

Griffiths is still to rediscover full sharpness after a prolonged spell out battling injury and personal problems. But McGregor would have no doubts about plunging him into action.

He said: "Leigh will be champing at the bit too. He'll be desperate to play, as will everyone in the squad. It's just important that we get as many players right at it leading into the weekend.

"Leigh has missed a lot of football so the more he can get on the pitch it will be beneficial for him and for the squad too. Getting a fully-fit Griffiths back will only help Celtic.

"I think he's getting there. If he's asked to play I don't think there will be any problem."

Celtic have a huge carrot dangling over the National Stadium this weekend as they eye up a 10th straight trophy triumph but the motivation is just as great for Gers as they look to lift their first major prize since 2011.

The Hoops warmed up for Sunday's showpiece with the exhilaration of a stoppage-time 2-1 win over Hamilton while Gers threw away two points at Pittodrie as they allowed Aberdeen to come from two goals down to snatch a draw.

Lennon's men have now stolen two points ahead in the Ladbrokes Premiership title race but McGregor thinks Gerrard's team will have forgotten about their slip-up come Sunday.

He said: "The psychological effect was big for us getting that win. We've been on a great run and to continue that was great and takes us nicely into the weekend.

"We didn't know what was happening at Pittodrie for definite but you can hear the noises in the stadium so it started to filter round after half-time.

"I don't think (Rangers will be feeling down). The league is completely separate to cup finals. Form goes out the window and the team that plays the best on the day wins normally."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph