Celtic V St Johnstone at Celtic Park : Match Preview

05 May 2017

Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor celebrating 'incredible' week

Midfielder Callum McGregor has enjoyed the best fortnight of his Celtic career.

The 23-year-old, who has been at the Parkhead club since he was nine years old, aside from a loan spell at Notts County, has spent the week basking in the glory of the Hoops' biggest ever win over Old Firm rivals Rangers at Ibrox.

McGregor scored the third in a 5-1 thumping of the Gers a week after notching against the Light Blues in the 2-0 William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final win at Hampden Park.

Ahead of the visit of St Johnstone in the Ladbrokes Premiership on Saturday, where Brendan Rodgers' treble-chasing side look to maintain their unbeaten domestic run, McGregor said: "It has been incredible, this week and last week, to get those two goals against Rangers and to beat them convincingly. It has been brilliant.

"It has been a good period for me. Building into the two Rangers games I was playing well and gaining more and more confidence, so it has been a good period for myself.

"When you are doing well and scoring goals you just want to keep playing and keep the games coming."

A year ago Celtic had been knocked out of the Scottish Cup semi-final by Rangers in a penalty shoot-out.

Rodgers took over from Norwegian boss Ronny Deila in the summer and McGregor revealed the difference the Northern Irishman has made to a side who stand a Scottish Cup final win over Aberdeen away from clinching the treble.

He said: "It has been a total contrast.

"That was a bad period for the club, a bad week for the club and you see how far we have come on from that.

"With 2,000 people showing up to see us modelling the new kit (on Thursday), it is an incredible feel-good factor.

"When you are in the team you need to do well to stay in and obviously you want to be a part of that day (final) as well.

"I am sure all the players between now and then will be doing their best to keep in the manager's thoughts.

"Every game for Celtic is a massive game but you want to make sure you are in the team that day."

Celtic skipper Scott Brown serves the first of a two-match suspension, while defender Mikael Lustig will be rested. Striker Moussa Dembele remains out with a hamstring injury.

There could be further switches as Rodgers looks to keep his key players fresh ahead of the cup final, but St Johnstone defender Joe Shaughnessy is still expecting a tough test.

He said: "Is it any easier facing Celtic when they have (Leigh) Griffiths rather than Dembele starting? Erm, no.

"You saw what he did last year. How many was it that he scored? Forty goals?

"He's just as good as Dembele I believe. I definitely rate him as highly. He's dangerous and a right handful.

"It sounds like they are going to be making some changes but they clearly have the strongest squad in the league.

"Whoever they have missing, there is always good quality players to come in and take their place, so it will be just as hard this weekend as it would be facing their first-choice guys."

Steven MacLean returns from suspension for the visitors and youngster Ally Gilchrist has also rejoined the squad after recovering from his long-term groin problem.

However, Chris Millar is likely to miss the remaining four games of the campaign with a groin issue of his own.

David Wotherspoon should be okay after shaking off a knock while Chris Kane and Keith Watson (both knee) are closing in on comebacks.

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