Callum McGregor inherited the unenviable task of filling the boots of Celtic legend Scott Brown when he took on the role of club captain in the summer of 2021.
A man who had led the side for over a decade, winning ten Scottish League titles along the way.
So, unenviable? Not to McGregor.
There’s a hunger that you can see within the 29 year old whenever he takes to the park as he dictates the play from his role at the heart of Celtic’s midfield.
It’s also evident whenever he’s in front of the mics on press duties and was clear to see once again as he looked ahead to this weekend’s League Cup semi-final at Hampden.
“When the cup competitions come around then straight away you have that desire to win.
I don’t think that’ll ever change in me personally, it doesn’t matter how many trophies you win, you want the next one.
And when the next one comes up then straight away you’re hungry for it, and of course that’s the ambition of the group as well.”
SUCCESS AT HAMPDEN
McGregor is no stranger to Hampden and, like his predecessor, has won there often enough to know what it takes.
With four Scottish Cup Winners medals and five League Cup ones sitting somewhere within his ever growing collection he’s walked the steps at the National Stadium to lift trophies no less than nine times.
The determination to make it a tenth when the League Cup Final rolls around at the end of February is there for all to see.
Last season’s League Cup success took on a different meaning for McGregor however, and as his first trophy success as Celtic captain he’s well aware of just how important that was to the team Ange Postecoglou was building.
“It was great. I think it was a big moment for the group.
A big moment for me personally as well, but more importantly a big moment for the group.
It solidified all the good work we’d been doing since pre-season and once you get a trophy in the bag it solidifies that and keeps everyone on the right track and knowing that you’re on your way to success.”
McGregor followed that early season success by going on to lift the Scottish Premiership Trophy in May and could be forgiven for basking in his now found status as a title winning Celtic captain.
Complacency as we know however isn’t a word that’s tolerated around Postecoglou’s squad and that message is carried religiously – and impressively – by his on field general.
“Last season doesn’t mean anything for us now.
It’s about this season and it’s about the next game and we’ve got to show that hunger that we want to be successful again.”
DOING THINGS HIS WAY
So just how does McGregor emulate the success of someone like Scott Brown?
A man who won trophy after trophy, and treble after treble, as Celtic’s iconic leader of 11-years.
Put simply, he doesn’t try to.
“The one thing I always wanted to do was be authentic with the group and you find your own way of getting information across and that’s what I seem to be doing so hopefully that continues.
I had to find my own way in the role following a very successful captain and you have to be successful – not because of that – but because you’re now the captain and you’re now spearheading the club in that sense on the pitch so that becomes your responsibility
That something I carry with me every day.”
Hampden Park beckons once again tomorrow night and if Celtic can find a way past Kilmarnock then yet another final awaits on the 26th of February.
Time will tell if this becomes McGregor’s third trophy as Celtic skipper.
But whether it does or not – he’ll be doing things his way.