Football/Soccer

Bhoys must "block out all the noise" says Callum McGregor

Celtic's Callum McGregor gets away from Rangers' James Tavernier (left) at Celtic Park.

Callum McGregor insists Celtic have to “block out all the noise” as they set forth on their quest for a record-breaking 10th successive Scottish Premiership title.

The Hoops were declared champions for the ninth time in a row in March when football was stopped due to the coronavirus crisis and it is a record they share with Old Firm rivals Rangers, albeit the Parkhead club have done it twice and achieved it first.

The Scottish Government gave the green light for the top flight to start on August 1, with Celtic hosting Hamilton in their opener the following day and from that weekend the focus will be on whether or not Neil Lennon’s side can create more history.

Glaswegian McGregor, 27, knows the spotlight Celtic and Rangers will be under once again but speaking in a Zoom broadcast conference from Celtic’s pre-season base at Loughborough University, he said: “We are back in as a group and understand the challenge that is ahead of us.

“But the reason why we have been so successful in the past is because of the way we work, we take on game at a time, we don’t look too far ahead and the success has been built on that.

“We have to block out all the noise coming from everywhere else and just look at the next game.

“The boys have been pretty relaxed so far and I think if you start to get carried away with all the chat that goes on outside the camp the only people that can make this happen for us is the guys inside the building and we have to stay focused.

“We understand what is at stake but once you start looking too far ahead that is when things can quite quickly fall apart.

“So for us it is the same message. We have to stay calm, relaxed, we know how hard we have to work in training and preparation for the games and come a match day we have to perform every week to get the points and that is what we will try to do.”

Celtic announced a number of matches against French opposition as they gear up for next season.

The Scottish champions will take part in the Veolia Trophy at the Groupama Stadium in Lyon, playing Nice on Thursday, July 16 and Olympique Lyonnais on Saturday, July 18.

Then on Tuesday, July 21, Celtic head to the French capital to take on Paris Saint-Germain in the Parc des Princes.

The Scotland midfielder played 50 of the 53 Hoops games last season as well as six games for Scotland and is taking the positives from the enforced break.

He said: “There are two ways of looking at it.

“You would rather stay in your rhythm and keep playing and keep enjoying your football and at some point you might need an extended break.

“So from that point it was good that I never missed any games with injury or tiredness so I think that it has probably worked quite well that the break

has been there but you haven’t missed football as such.

“I am just desperate to get back playing football, as are the boys.”

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Football/Soccer