St Mirren draw shows how footballing fortunes can fluctuate – Callum McGregor

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Callum McGregor believes Celtic’s goalless draw at St Mirren, just days after their Premier Sports Cup final triumph, demonstrated football’s fluctuations.

After beating Hibernian 2-1 at Hampden Park on Sunday to claim the first piece of silverware of Ange Postecoglou’s tenure, the Hoops travelled to Paisley on Wednesday night to take on a Covid-affected Saints side who had gone nine games without a win.

Injuries affected the Hoops line-up as boss Postecoglou made six changes but it was still a surprise when the home side held out for a point.

Celtic are now six points behind cinch Premiership leaders Rangers and Hoops skipper McGregor, noting that the Parkhead side have lost only once in 18 games as they prepare for the Boxing Day game against bottom side St Johnstone in Perth, said: “We can’t get too carried away and focus on the one result. We’ve been winning games for a long time now and we’ve been consistent over a period of time.

“We’ve been looking like the team we want to be. We want to add a bit of quality to that in the moments we need.

“But it’s been a good body of work over the period so far, in terms of where we started to where we are. We need to stay calm.

“In football, if you ever need a reminder of what the game can do, that was it the other night. You go from Sunday to that.

“But we know exactly where we are as a group and where we want to get to. There’s still a lot of work to be done.

“We’ll dust ourselves down. It was obviously a disappointing result but psychologically it doesn’t change anything too much.

“We still want to go out on a high and then we know how important the games are when we start back.

“We want to rectify the other night come the end of the month.”

McGregor was glad to hear that the Premiership break will start after the Boxing Day fixtures.

The subsequent two fixture cards have been postponed following restrictions on crowd numbers, which were announced by the Scottish Government on Tuesday.

Fixtures from December 29 and January 2-3 have been put back to January 17-18 and February 1-2 respectively.

Celtic’s home game against Rangers, scheduled for January 2, has been put back to February 2 and McGregor hopes the crowds will be back by then.

The Scotland midfielder said: “The fans are essential. We need the supporters and the atmosphere.

“We’ve played behind closed doors before and no one likes it.

“It’s important to give it as much time as possible to get the fans back in.

“There’s a massive financial incentive to clubs as well to have supporters there and this gives us three or four weeks to try to push for it.

“You saw it (the Rangers game) last season behind closed doors. It’s just not the same.

“Even with limited supporters it’s not the same either.

“As a product, Scottish football needs as many supporters in as possible for these big games.

“You’ve also got Hibs v Hearts as well as Celtic and Rangers.

“We want to promote the product and I’m hoping we can do that once we get back after the new year.”

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