“He looked more like himself taking and passing the ball and reading the game,” Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers is going to take no chances with Callum McGregor as he looks to avoid any set-backs as the Celtic captain makes his return to the squad after the achilles injury that has kept him on the sidelines for just over a month.

Ahead of yesterday’s match against St Mirren the Celtic manager hinted that Callum McGregor, despite returning to the pitch from the bench last weekend at Ibrox, would have to bide his time for a start and would be on the bench again yesterday.

Celtic v St Mirren –  Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers left with Adam Idah after the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park, Glasgow. Saturday April 13, 2024. Photo Jane Barlow

Carefully controlled 

It’s all about getting the skipper up to speed fitness wise in a carefully controlled manner and that is something the two Celtic leaders have discussed and agree on.

McGregor has a flag and a Scottish Cup to defend and also the not insignificant matter of the Euro2024 finals this summer in Germany. That’s well down the list of priorities for the Celtic support though.

“He understands, Callum and I go back a long time so our communication is always open and very honest. So, he knows where he’s at,” Brendan Rodgers said at his media conference on Friday afternoon at Lennoxtown which was attended by Celtic Shorts.

Celtic Shorts Editor speaking to Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers

Absolutely fantastic

“He’s been out for a long time and he’d done absolutely fantastic to have some sort of availability for theRangers game. But you cannot, after five weeks of virtually doing nothing, and then back in a couple days and being involved in (the)Rangers, expect to be at that level of fitness from when you last were there.

“I think it was 28 February or something, his last game against Dundee, so he’s not at that level yet. But he’s certainly got an impact to play for us, because on and off the pitch he’s absolutely vital for us.”

Calmac looked more like himself yesterday when he came on for 20 minutes of football against St Mirren in the 3-0 win and afterwards a delighted Brendan Rodgers mentioned his skipper’s contribution in his post-match interview on Celtic TV (watch below).

“It was great for Cal to get back in and he looked more like himself taking and passing the ball and reading the game. It was very good,” Brendan Rodgers said to Celtic TV after the 3-0 win over St Mirren yesterday afternoon.

Will Callum McGregor start at Hampden on Saturday in the Scottish Cup semi-final? Rodgers has to make that call and it has to be said that Tomoki Iwata is doing a fine job holding the fort in that number 6 role in Callum’s absence.

The likelihood is that both with feature on Saturday with one getting an hour and the other coming on for the latter stages of the match.

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