Celtic prepared to take risks – ‘we’ve come a long way and we’ve got a hell of a long way to go’

Celtic captain Callum McGregor remains upbeat about his team’s chances of overcoming Bodo/Glimt to reach the last 16 of the Europa Conference League. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Callum McGregor certainly has no doubts the Scottish Premiership leaders are capable of overturning the 3-1 first leg deficit against Bodo/Glimt in their knockout round play-off tie.

But the Celtic captain knows that the positive approach Ange Postecoglou’s side will adopt needs to be married with an awareness of the counter-attacking threat posed by the impressive Norwegian champions.

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“We’ve seen enough from ourselves in good situations and possession (to know we can turn it around),” said McGregor.

Callum McGregor tussles with Bodo/Glimt midfielder Hugo Vetlesen during the first leg of the Europa Conference League knockout round play-off tie at Celtic Park. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

“The reality is we have to score three to go through so we understand we have to put a wee bit of risk in the game and be concentrated. It then opens us to the counter-attack and we’re working hard to nullify that.

“This group of players has shown we can win big. We’re that type of team. We want to be aggressive. Even if we go away from home, we want to play the same way and that’ll get us chances.

“It’s about being clinical and ruthless when the chances come. That can be the small difference. We’ve still got a chance to rectify it.”

McGregor admits the manner in which the first leg played out underlined that Celtic are still very much a work in progress under Postecoglou, regardless of their current 26-match unbeaten run in domestic fixtures.

“We’ve come a long way and we’ve got a hell of a long way to go as well,” added the Scotland midfielder. “It keeps us grounded and makes us understand we have many layers to go.

“It’s a learning curve and we have to take that on board.

“When you play European competition, no matter the team you come up against they’ll always be fit and organised and that’s why it’s such a good level.

“You can’t drop, you have to be more aware, play quicker and make good decisions and when you don’t, that’s what happened to us last week.

“Conceding the early goal didn’t help us – we then had to chase the game and they’re a good outfit.

“They’ve shown that in the group stage – we knew the threat they had on the counter and that gives us a mountain to climb.

“We started to get control, had some good moments and lacked a bit of quality, which we haven’t done recently.

“That’s the difference at this level – they have three chances and score and in numerous situations we struggled a little bit but it’s a learning curve as a group.

“You can’t think you’re doing well then you come up against a tough side and they beat you 3-1 at home. We have to try to rectify it this week and see where we can be better.

“I’ve seen enough in the game (to think we can still get through). Sometimes you come off the pitch and think it was tough – and it was tough – but there were also a lot of good situations for us. We have to dust ourselves down and go for it.”

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