Callum McGregor pays ultimate tribute to Celtic fans; explains playing through injury

By Euan Davidson

February 3, 2022

Any Celtic supporter would’ve played against Rangers with a double cheekbone fracture, Callum McGregor has said.

And given his utter devotion to the club, he knows exactly what he’s talking about.

Callum McGregor, something of a surprise addition to the line-up against Rangers last night, was absolutely colossal as his Hoops side strolled to a 3-0 win. Dictating the tempo, showing plenty of aggression and even winding up opposition players, McGregor was at his imperious best.

Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

Leading Celtic with typical passion and vigour, McGregor had to wear a protective mask to get through the game. It’s an injury that should’ve seen him out for 4-6 weeks, but you can’t keep a guy like Callum McGregor out of action for that long.

The Celtic captain said [Clyde SSB]: “No fear. You know the situation, when the game starts, then you just go into that mode where you don’t have any fear.

“The atmosphere, the adrenaline, everything’s going. You just want to help the team. I spoke before the game [saying] I wanted to do everything I could to get myself on the pitch tonight, and try to help the team, and do that for the supporters.

“Every single one of them would play with a broken face if they had to. So why am I any different?

“There’s a break in two places. Just need to let it heal, let that take its course. The mask gives me the protection that I need. As long as it’s not sore, then I’m happy to play.”

Celtic hammer Rangers but it’s just the start of the Ange era | Scott McDonald on 67 Hail Hail

Celtic hammer Rangers but it’s just the start of the Ange era | Scott McDonald on 67 Hail Hail
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

Celtic captain Callum McGregor has the passion every Hoops captain needs

Remember when there was a debate about the captaincy after Scott Brown announced he was leaving?

Seems daft now. It was always going to be Callum McGregor. With every minute he’s had on the park, wearing the armband, he’s proven exactly why.

This isn’t to say players should play through injury to make a point. But McGregor was given the chance to assess things himself, and he decided he could play. So it proved, and he was absolutely brilliant for Celtic against Rangers last night.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

If he was playing through pain, you wouldn’t have known. The only pain he was interested in was what he was inflicting on Rangers. Whether goading Borna Barisic for not taking him on, getting in the opposition’s faces during altercations, or just using his typical composure and class to dictate the tempo, he was brilliant. Just absolutely brilliant.

Perhaps the mask suits him. It seemed to bring a real edge out in him last night, the kind of fiery passion we came to expect from Neil Lennon or Scott Brown. We’ve seen McGregor lead Celtic with a more quiet dignity before now, but he was up for last night, and make no mistake about it.

Being a passionate Celtic supporter himself helps a great deal, of course. And yes, we’d all like to think we’d play for Celtic against Rangers, even with a broken cheekbone, given a slither of a chance. If we were Callum McGregor, we’d have played last night. He gets it.

What a performance, and what a show of commitment and determination from a guy who’s been outstanding all season.

Read more: Pierre van Hooijdonk stunned by last night’s Celtic Park atmosphere