Callum McGregor sets sights on stronger Celtic squad following double

The Celtic captain says work will start now to be successful next season.

Celtic captain Callum McGregor has already set his sights on winning the League Cup and getting stronger as a squad in the wake of their double triumph.

McGregor clinched the 22nd winners’ medal of his career when he led the champions to a 1-0 win over Rangers following a tight encounter at Hampden.

But the one that got away still rankles with McGregor. Defeat by Kilmarnock in Brendan Rodgers’ third game back in charge spoiled the manager’s perfect domestic cup record in Scotland and McGregor wants the League Cup back from Rangers.

The 30-year-old said: “I’m absolutely delighted that we’ve peaked at the right time, finished with two trophies. But make no mistake, we want to be better again next season and that will be the remit when we come back in the summer.

“We’ve got to push, we want to get our other trophy back now as well.

“We’re delighted, great day for the club, another big pressure moment that we’ve come through and that takes character and personality.

“So we know we have that in the group. It’s then just starting to layer everything up and getting ourselves going again and see if we can build another really strong squad.”

Philippe Clement is set to make changes during his first summer in charge of Rangers but Rodgers is also looking to strengthen after stressing the need for quality in the aftermath of last year’s summer transfer window.

All 11 players who started for Celtic at Hampden were already at the club before Rodgers returned and their winner stemmed from two loan players after Adam Idah netted the rebound from Paulo Bernardo’s strike.

McGregor said “This is the club we play for – after the celebrations, everybody will be saying ‘right, what’s happening, what’s happening next season and how can we get stronger’?

“That’s what you have to be if you want to play at this club. It demands success. The standards are through the roof and you’ve got to get there or someone else will take your place.

“So, with nice building blocks again for this season, you see what’s in that group in terms of personality and strength of character. Now we just layer up everything that we wanted to do and try and build another really strong squad.”

Rodgers will be keen to strengthen throughout but a new goalkeeper is imperative after Joe Hart bowed out of his playing career with his seventh trophy for Celtic.

McGregor will miss the 37-year-old’s experience and leadership qualities among other attributes.

“He’s been outstanding,” the midfielder said. “Obviously his stature in the game brings that respect straight away and we’ve got a young group as well that needs help and and it can’t just be one voice all the time.

“You know, if it’s just me, banging the drum, then eventually everyone will just stop listening because it’s the same voice over and over.

“Joe’s been an unbelievable lieutenant for me. We speak almost on a daily basis about what we can do for the group and trying to push them and trying to motivate them and he’s been really good for me.

“Just his experience as well. You know, I’ve got to lean on that. I can’t say that I know everything because I don’t. And that’s also what good leadership is, leaning on strong guys beside you as well.

“He’s been unbelievable since he came into the club.”

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