Callum McGregor has grown and blossomed as a player

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has lauded academy graduate Callum McGregor after the midfielder signed a new five year deal with the club, saying he that he has ‘grown and blossomed over the past few years’.

McGregor, who joined Celtic’s Youth Academy when he was 9, made his first team debut against KR Reyjkyavik in a 2014 Champions League qualifier, scoring the only goal of the game.

Since then, the 25-year-old has made 202 appearances in the green and white hoops and scored 34 goals – against the likes of Ajax, Bayern Munich, Zenit and Rangers. He has won four League titles, three League Cups and two Scottish Cups in that time. And finally he has been rewarded with regular Scotland call-ups after being snubbed by the previous national team manager Gordon Strachan for the failed 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

In the wake of signing his new deal, Rodgers speaking to the official Celtic website, said: “Callum’s new deal is great news for everyone. He’s a player that’s grown and blossomed over the past few years. He’s been a brilliant player for me. His tactical brain is brilliant, as is the fact he can play in so many positions.

“Seeing his personality grow, playing in the biggest games, going on and becoming a key player for his national team as well – we’ve really got a player that has his best years ahead of him, and he’s a wonderful technical player who has great insight in the game.

“For a young player, his view of the game is incredible, from every area of the pitch. He plays the game simple and that’s always a mark of the top players, to make it look simple when it’s not. For Celtic, it’s great news, and for him it’s a great reward. But, like I said to him, you have to get hungry again to push for your next contract. And that’ll be important.”

McGregor himself praised the impact of Rodgers at Celtic and what he has done for his career. He added: “The manager has been absolutely amazing with me. Every time I speak about him, it’s always positive, and how much of an impact he’s had on me. He’s been unbelievable for my career and has helped me get that confidence and take my game to the next level.

“I always make a point of giving a big thank you to him. My new deal is signed, and now it’s about getting back to really trying to progress as a player again and continue to improve and get even better. I’ll be here every day trying to do the best that I can for the club and the manager.”