By Craig Turnbull
Callum McGregor says he felt “invincible” when he broke into the Celtic first team but, after spells on the sidelines brought him back down to earth, the attacker is desperate to prove his worth again in the run-in.
McGregor caught the eye after an impressive start to his Hoops career, with vital goals domestically and in Europe earning himself a new five-year deal at the club and a call up to the national team.
However, the 22-year-old has flitted in and out of the first team this season before he was found guilty of drink driving. Deila has stuck by McGregor and the attacker is desperate to repay his faith.
Asked if he thought he’d be a first-team regular after his break through, he said: “I think so, it is only natural that when you are doing well you think the world is your oyster and you feel invincible but you get that bang back down to earth and you realise you have got to do it every day and to stay there you have got to perform every week.
“It is a big wake up call, the standards you need to be at every week, that is the mental side that I have learned, when you go on the park you have to be ready and I am trying to do that every week.
“I have been in and out the team but recently I have had a good run and hopefully that continues.
“Now I’ve got to kick on and play as many games for Celtic and hopefully the next stage is the international stage and that is where I want to be.”
McGregor missed out the last Old Firm game last year when Celtic won 2-0 in the League Cup semi-final but did play in the Old Firm Youth Cup final win against Rangers in 2011.
The attacker says it was a great experience but nothing can prepare him for what he expects in the Scottish Cup semi-final in April.
“I have some really good memories. I played in a few of those youth cup finals and I have always had fond memories of them, hopefully this time round I can try to make new ones,” he said.
“It is a good experience to have, you want those big games when you are a young kid and you think it is the world.
“This time it everything is times 100, I don’t think anybody can be prepared for that, to walk in the first time and be ready for it.
“Obviously I will do my best in the next few games to try to be there.”