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Magic McGregor shines as Hoops hammer Hearts


Callum McGregor. Pic: PA

Callum McGregor. Pic: PA

Callum McGregor. Pic: PA

Brendan Rodgers praised Callum McGregor (right) after the versatile Celtic man turned in another influential performance in the 5-0 win over Hearts at Parkhead.

The 25-year-old Scotland star is well-known for his ability to play in several positions and has taken over the holding midfielder role in the absence of injured skipper Scott Brown.

McGregor pulled the strings as the champions moved within a point of the Jambos at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

French striker Odsonne Edouard grabbed a double - one either side of Filip Benkovic's first goal for Celtic from a McGregor corner - as the Hoops stormed into a comfortable interval lead with further goals in the second half from James Forrest and a Ryan Christie penalty.

"He controls the tempo of the game," said Rodgers of McGregor.

"He is a boy that takes the ball and is so clever in his movements. We ask him to go into certain area of the pitch to offer support.

"He has a dream of a touch which allows him to go forward.

"His feet are nice and soft, he doesn't playing backwards so much and has a great range of passes.

"He has the personality now to play those passes, not just one that is secure to keep the ball, he can also break a line with a pass and open up and split up the game for us.

"He has been absolutely exceptional in that role but I say that everywhere he plays."

Celtic have scored 23 goals in their last five domestic games and the comprehensive victory over the league leaders pleased Rodgers.

The Northern Irishman added: "It is much more like us. It is still early but it is nice and it was a joy to watch the team and see their qualities."

Hearts boss Craig Levein took the blame for the defeat but put it into context of a side missing key players like defenders Christophe Berra and John Souttar and strikers Steven Naismith and Uche Ikpeazu.

He said: "I told them to forget it. We have been brilliant up to now.

"I take a step back and we are sitting top of the league after 12 games and we have had to deal with a lot of injuries

"All credit to the boys and we will get back to our normal selves next week."