GOAL - Chris Burton
Callum McGregor is hoping to get another shot at Neymar in the 2020-21 Champions League, with the Paris Saint-Germain forward having revelled in “taking the mickey” out of Celtic in seven previous outings against the Scots.
The most recent of those came in the friendly at Parc des Princes on Tuesday. Thomas Tuchel’s Ligue 1 title holders got the better of the Scottish kings in a comfortable 4-0 win as they stepped up their preparations for the resumption of Champions League competition.
Neymar was among the goals in the French capital, with the Brazilian having now netted eight times in his meetings with Celtic. His aggregate record against the Glasgow giants stands at 32-2, across spells with Barcelona and PSG, with his antics not always being well received by the Hoops.
Neil Lennon spoke out against the South American following his last outing, while McGregor admits that he would welcome the opportunity to cross paths with the showboating 28-year-old one more time.
The Celtic midfielder said in the Daily Record: “We keep saying we owe him one before the games, but he’s that good that if you don’t switch on, he punishes you in the first minute like he did on Tuesday night. He played an unbelievable ball into [Kylian] Mbappe to score the opener.
“So you can say, ‘Get close to him next time’ but it’s not that easy. It’s a learning curve for the players as well. Hopefully we will get back there to the Champions League and have a second crack at it.”
McGregor added, with Neymar having once again brought out his bag of tricks against Celtic while also becoming involved in a heated discussion with Lennon: “Is it infuriating? Of course it is. You’re professional and you like the respect part of the game.
“You don’t like people taking the mickey out of you, but you have to respect the talent and try to get the ball back off him.
“His job is to score and you’re always going to get things like that in football. He’s a world-class talent and it’s very hard to get close to him.
“He manipulates the ball so well but if you have a kick at him he doesn’t like it, but it’s not personal. It’s my job to win the ball back and sometimes you mistime a tackle but if you stand off then top players will hurt you.
“You have to respect the quality but not respect him to the point of standing off him and letting him do his thing.
“We had a couple of nibbles at him but he seemed to take it and come back for more. That’s why he is a top, top player. He was even laughing at one point. He’s just a top talent, whether you love him or hate him. There are a lot of tussles in the game and that’s just part and parcel of football.”