Joe Hart and Leigh Griffiths had plenty of chat to catch up on when they first met at Celtic in the summer of 2021.
The goalkeeper had just joined the Hoops on a three-year deal from Tottenham Hotspur, while the forward was in the closing stages of his eight-year spell at the club, not that he knew it.
The pair almost certainly didn’t know each other as they came in to contact at Lennoxtown. Yet they would have been well aware of each other after sharing some hugely iconic international scenes.
The sides were in Group F qualifying action for the World Cup in Russia. Scotland trailed their old rivals 1-0 going into the final three minutes when Griffiths struck not one, but two stunning free-kicks past Hart to send Hampden into ecstasy. Harry Kane then equalised for the visitors with virtually the game’s final kick.
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“The minute Griff saw him that was it, from day one,” McGregor told The Herald.
“Obviously, it was all a bit of a joke and there was banter thrown Joe’s way. Joe’s still adamant it was too far in the corner for him, so we’ll let him off with that one.”
The irony of that last Hampden meeting between the sides is that Hart is the only current Celtic star to have featured. McGregor hadn’t been capped yet by his country at that stage while the likes of Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney and Scott Brown have since moved on.
James Forrest was an unused substitute for Scotland that day, just a fortnight after we’d completed the ‘invincible treble’ at the same ground under Brendan Rodgers. Hart has at least banished those bad Hampden memories in recent years, winning trophies at the stadium so far with the Hoops.
No offence to him or any of our English readers, but we’re hoping for a home win tonight. A McGregor goal would be lovely too.