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Skipper Callum McGregor hopes for ‘big atmosphere’ despite Celtic’s early start

Celtic v Leverkusen – UEFA Europa League – Group G – Celtic Park
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Celtic captain Callum McGregor knows the players need to do their bit for the atmosphere during their unusual Tuesday afternoon Europa League clash.

With Rangers also at home in the competition this week meaning the usual Thursday slot is ruled out and UEFA insistent that the game does not clash with Champions League fixtures, Celtic and Ferencvaros will kick off at 3.30pm.

With both sides without a point following two matches and fans making sacrifices to get to the ground, McGregor is well aware of the obligation to deliver a performance.

And if the famous Celtic Park atmosphere for a European encounter is threatened by the early start, McGregor is determined to ensure those fans present get off their seats early on.

“Obviously it’s a little bit different in terms of people trying to get to the stadium so we will appreciate everyone that has made the effort to get there,” the Scotland midfielder said.

“We are hoping for a big atmosphere again and the players need to deliver that as well.

“It doesn’t matter the kick-off time. We are at home in a European tie and we need to bring that energy for the crowd to feed off as well, and I’m sure they will.

“We have been around the game a long time to understand when the fixture is. It just becomes another match day.”

With Real Betis and Bayer Leverkusen dominating the group so far, there is little room for error when Celtic face the Hungarians in a double-header.

“Everyone in the building knows what we need to do,” McGregor said. “The manager’s challenge is to go and win the game.

“We know how important it is in the context of the group and everyone is well aware of that. There is always pressure at Celtic to win and this is no different.”