Celtic captain Callum McGregor on what he's recently noticed from Premiership competition

By Euan Davidson

March 3, 2022

Celtic captain Callum McGregor drove the Bhoys on to yet another domestic victory this season, and another clean sheet, against St Mirren last night.

However, the first half was one of frustration. Celtic saw so much of the ball [Fotmob], and created half-chances, but Stephen Robinson’s Buddies side were able to limit the Hoops. Choking out the space in the 18-yard box, it was difficult for Celtic to get shots away, and the final ball from wide just wasn’t quite connecting with Daizen Maeda.

Playing against that kind of tactical set-up, Callum McGregor says, has become the norm. We saw it against Hibernian at the weekend, while St Johnstone, Livingston and others have sat deep, absorbed pressure and allowed Celtic the ball.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

McGregor shared what he’d noticed about the teams coming to face Celtic, and has stressed that he and his teammates need to find a way to beat a low block.

In a post-match press conference attended by 67 Hail Hail, McGregor said:

“We’ve got to learn to play against different systems and different set-ups. Teams are coming and making it really difficult for us to break them down now.

“In football you’re always learning anyway. But certainly, recently, there’s been more and more teams coming and just sitting in a low block. Giving us that problem to try and break them down.

“That’s up to us as players, and obviously coaching staff and manager, to come up with a solution to get around that and try and beat it. We’re always learning in football anyway, but it’s important we keep striving to do that.”

Celtic 2-0 St. Mirren | LIVE Reaction

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Celtic captain McGregor is right; finding new ways to beat Premiership sides is vital

Granted, Celtic and McGregor got the job done last night. It was the captain who scored the all-important second goal to really make things more comfortable.

The Hoops took advantage of a set piece for Cameron Carter-Vickers’ goal, and that was crucial. From open play, teams are going to come and sit and frustrate the life out of us. That first strike is crucial; it opens up the game a bit, and forces our opposition to leave more spaces open.

The fact is though, Celtic’s free-scoring antics earlier in the season have frightened the life out of Premiership clubs. Even Rangers, who tried to go at us a little, got blown away by a rampant Hoops attack. When Celtic are allowed to exploit more space in the middle, we make teams suffer.

Photo by Kaz Photography/Getty Images

It’s totally understandable, then, that teams will come to Celtic Park and look to hit us on the break, and cede possession. It is surprising, though, that a seasoned campaigner like Callum McGregor would say he’s noticed this happening more readily this season.

Eventually, provided everyone at Celtic buys into the messages of Ange Postecoglou and Callum McGregor, there won’t be a reasonable way to defend against us.

This year is still very much a learning curve, albeit one where we’re still able to lead the pack.

Read more: The two wonderfully-timed Celtic boosts in win over St Mirren