Callum McGregor admits Kilmarnock win was huge as he applauds Celtic’s character

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Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor has applauded the character of the current Parkhead side after their dramatic win at Rugby Park. Scott Brown netted a 90th minute winner to send Celtic eight points clear at the top of the league and McGregor believes that the timing of the goal owes much to Celtic’s resilience and determination. As the minutes ticked away in what was a game with few genuine chances at either end of the pitch, the Scotland internationalist insisted that Celtic deserved credit for their never-say-die attitude.

And McGregor acknowledged that in terms of the title race this has been a weekend that could well be definitive.

“It was massive,” he said. “We came here sensing that we could get that eight point gap. “We were coming here to win the game and that is exactly what we did.

“We knew it was going to be tough. We stuck to our task and thankfully we got there in the end and it just shows the character of this lot.

“We started the game well and throughout we were a threat but it was just going to take that wee bit of luck to get the goal. Thankfully we got it.

“It could be the biggest win for us.” Brown was sent off for his celebration in the aftermath of the goal but McGregor has insisted that when it comes to leadership, the Celtic captain deserves to be recognised.

“When you need big players to step up, Browny has done it time and time throughout his career and he has done it again today with getting us that vital goal,” said McGregor.

Meanwhile, fullback Jonny Hayes has insisted that despite the cushion Celtic have given themselves that there will be no let up as the Parkhead side push for an eighth successive title.

“We can only concentrate on ourselves,” he said. “There is a bit of a gap there but you be assured there will be no rest. “We knew it was going to be a graft today because Kilmarnock are a good, well-organised side.” With Kieran Tierney still recuperating, Hayes came back into the starting XI to replace Emilio Izaguirre at Rugby Park and he admitted that it has felt a little odd to be learning about the position from someone a decade younger.

“It is weird learning from someone ten years younger than you in KT but he is up there with the best in Europe and I have learned a few things for him,” said the Irishman.

“You enjoy it a lot more when you win the game.

“We tend to dominate possession so we are playing a wing-back role. I have watched people like Mika [Lustig] play for years so I am learning the role.”