Celtic: Callum McGregor says goal against Rangers among career highlights

By Clive LindsayBBC Sport
Celtic's Callum McGregor celebrates against Rangers
"That moment when the ball hit the back of the net - it was unbelievable."

Celtic's Callum McGregor says scoring in Sunday's Scottish Cup semi-final victory over Rangers was one of his career highlights to date.

The midfielder, who struck the opening goal in the 2-0 win, thanked manager Brendan Rodgers for starting him ahead of fit-again Tom Rogic.

"Tom was back fit and he's done incredibly well this year as well," said the 23-year-old.

"So it was good for the manager to back me and I've repaid him with the goal."

Asked if it was his best day in a Celtic shirt, McGregor replied: "I think it would be pretty close.

"It was massive for me. I've been at this club since I was nine years old and you dream of days like that at Hampden, in semi-finals, finals, and scoring against Rangers.

"It doesn't get any better than that for a young boy coming through the system.

"That moment when the ball hit the back of the net, it was unbelievable."

The midfielder paid tribute to Rodgers, whose side have already retained the league title and won the League Cup in his first season at Celtic Park.

"Technically and tactically, it has been a real learning curve for everybody in the squad," said McGregor.

"This season, with the manager having come in, it is a breath of fresh air for us."

McGregor thought Rodgers' influence showed on Sunday when they had to wait several minutes for the injured Moussa Dembele to be replaced with Leigh Griffiths.

"You see the tactical awareness we showed when we went down to 10 men - we knew we had to sit in and wait to get Griff on the pitch and we could go on the attack again," he said.

"It is just wee things like that the boys have learned massively from.

"T think we made it easier for ourselves with the way we played. Rangers found it hard to deal with our rotation in the middle."

McGregor, who is contracted until 2019, insisted that he has had no thoughts about leaving in search of more regular starts.

"I've always wanted to stay," said the midfielder, who spent the 2013-14 season on loan to Notts County.

"Even when I was maybe out of the team or not playing so much, it is still a great place to be.

"It is the only club I know really, so for me to kick on and get a new deal, that would be excellent for me."

Celtic travel across Glasgow to face city rivals Rangers again on Saturday, this time in the Premiership.

"It will be different game," stressed McGregor. "It is at their place as well and it's always harder to go there and get on the ball and play.

"Especially after the result on Sunday, they'll be up for it."

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