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Callum McGregor urges Celtic to stick together

Celtic v Lille – UEFA Europa League – Group H – Celtic Park
(Image credit: Jane Barlow)

Callum McGregor called for unity at Celtic following the morale-boosting win over Lille on Thursday night.

A much-changed Hoops side battled to a 3-2 victory in their Europa League dead-rubber as midfielder David Turnbull scored the winner with his first goal since signing from Motherwell in August.

It was Neil Lennon’s side’s first win in six matches and it came hours after the Hoops’ board urged supporters not to turn up outside the stadium before the home Premiership match against Kilmarnock on Sunday to stage another protest.

The champions are 13 points behind Rangers at the top of the table with two games in hand and a section of the Celtic support wants change.

McGregor, stand-in skipper against Lille in the absence of Scott Brown and who scored a penalty at 1-1, said: “I just want everyone to be together.

“That is the message. This club has been built on so much success by the principles of sticking together.

“Everyone in the building wants the same thing, everyone outside the building wants the same thing.

“So this is the moment when we stick together and trust the process and we go and really try and turn it around.”

McGregor, who came through the youth academy at Celtic, admitted recent weeks have been exacting.

He said: “It is obviously tough when you have been here for so long and it is part of you and you carry it about with you every day. That’s just part and parcel of being from Glasgow.

“You grow up with this club from when you were eight years old so when the chips are down it is difficult.

“You carry that with you every day and think of ways to try and help and be better so it has been a tough time.

“But we never give up. We are a team with a real strong mentality, some real strong characters.

“Our job as the more experienced ones is to help the younger ones through it and this is the time where we all have to stick together; players, management, board, fans, everyone together and that togetherness can be a real strong thing.

“So that is my message. We have to be really together, attack this on the front foot and it can be another good season for us.”

The Scotland international was pleased for under-fire manager Lennon, who has been given two votes of confidence from the Parkhead board recently, to get a much-needed win.

He said: “Yeah, he’s obviously had a tough time but as players we have to accept responsibly as well because the manager can affect things right up until you go on the pitch and then obviously the players have to deliver.

“So we have to share the responsibility with him as well and I think we have done that to be fair.

“Everyone has held their hand up, we have had meeting after meeting about it and we are all in a good place in terms of nobody is shying away from responsibility.

“It was a nice one for him. I think he will be feeling better about himself but again the same message, we go again on Sunday.

“Sunday is the most important game now and we have to go and win that.”