Callum McGregor determined to prolong Celtic’s European adventure as Hoops captain demands ‘perfect’ performance against Bodo/Glimt
Ange Postecoglou must overcome a two-goal deficit against the Norwegian champions to reach the Europa Conference League last 16
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The Norwegian champions shocked Ange Postecoglou’s side by securing a 3-1 victory at Parkhead last week in their first competitive game for 66 days following the conclusion of the 2021 Eliteserien season.
In the immediate aftermath, Hoops captain McGregor remained upbeat about their chances of progression, insisting he saw enough from his team-mates to suggest they can still advance in the Europa Conference League.
The Scotland international believes the exposure from playing such a high standard of opposition in Europe has helped the new-look Celtic squad improve drastically from where they were at the start of the season.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, McGregor said: “I think when you get a group of players and young players as well, there are not that many clubs around Europe where you get the chance to play European football consecutively every year.
“You do get that at Celtic and it is brilliant exposure for the players.
“When you get young players and new players in, there isn’t a magic formula from day one to say we’re going to be ready.
“You need to make your mistakes, have your good games and bad games, always be learning within it and, hopefully within that, there comes a point where you level off and you feel comfortable playing in those competitions.
“There is still a lot of growth left in these players. We seemed to get better as our Europa League campaign went on.
“This game is another new challenge as a group and as players, so we’re looking forward to it and, hopefully, we can put in a performance that can get us through.
“You grow as people, you see different cultures, you go and see the set ups of different clubs in different countries and that’s a good thing to see.
“In football, you are always learning. No matter what level you get to, you see new things and absorb as much of it as possible.”
McGregor knows it will take a near-perfect performance from Celtic in the Arctic Circle to reach the last-16 of the competition.
The midfielder believes any defensive lapses will be punished by Bodo/Glimt, which has been their biggest downfall in their six away matches so far having shipped 15 goals.
He admitted: “We can’t afford to make mistakes. We have to score three and be perfect at the back.
“We seem to rise to these challenges when they come along and that’s what we’ll need to do again. We’ll go for it as much as we can.
“That’s the way the manager wants us to play. He wants us to be aggressive no matter who we are playing and take the game to the opposition and implement our style onto the game.
“This game will be no different. We’ve spoken about trying to overturn the lead and it will be a difficult task.
“To get through, we pretty much need to be perfect in the sense that we don’t concede and we can get three goals to take us through.
“That’s the challenge and all we can do it prepare as well as we can, give absolutely everything and do everything the manager wants us to do.
“If we do those things correctly, we have a chance to get through.”