Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor has stated that Rangers’ failure to be as consistent as the Parkhead side have cost them.
The Hoops have come in for some real criticism this season for their stuttering form. Under both Brendan Rodgers and Neil Lennon, the football hasn’t been great to watch. Some crushing defeats to the likes of Hearts, Hibernian, Kilmarnock, and Rangers (x2) have led to some poor days out for Celtic.
But despite that, Lennon’s men still managed to increase the gap at the top of the table to nine points over Rangers. The Ibrox club lost 2-1 to Kilmarnock on the final day, whilst Celtic overcame Hearts 2-1.
McGregor was keen to use those two results as an example of Celtic’s Champion-like traits. Speaking in the Daily Record, the midfielder couldn’t resist putting Rangers back in their box after taking stick from the derby defeat one week previous.
“The team that wins the league is the one that deals with the setbacks and can go again the next week, so it shows you exactly the mentality within this group.
“Sunday was a perfect example. We lost the game last week at Ibrox yet we go and win the next game and Rangers lose.
“So yes, okay, you’re going to have some tough days but you come back and you are even stronger. To finish as we did on Sunday shows the real strength of character within the group.”
Final day showed the difference
The crux of McGregor’s argument here is spot on. Celtic’s speed of recovery from setbacks has been what has won them the title.
For example, after losing at Ibrox back in December, we went on an incredible 11-game domestic winning run. It pushed us on and showed why Celtic have been seven and now are eight-in-a-row champions.
Sunday, as McGregor says, was a prime example of Celtic’s strength. Both Celtic and Rangers made some changes to their starting XI. Celtic left out big guns such as Odsonne Edouard, Scott Brown, McGregor, and James Forrest. Rangers left out some big stars of their own in James Tavernier, Scott Arfield, and Nikola Katic.
Rangers still started a strong XI, whilst Celtic played a youthful one. Yet it was us that picked up the points, and that quality to win when rivals don’t can’t be underestimated. It’s what has made us ultimately eight-in-a-row champions. Celtic just have that winning instinct, whilst Rangers strongly lack it.
It’s something we need to carry into next season. The nine-in-a-row campaign is a huge one. Whenever Rangers slip up, Celtic need to pounce on them. But with the mentality in our dressing room, that looks more than probable.