CALLUM McGREGOR said that he and his Celtic team-mates need to use the novel sensation of suffering Old Firm defeat to ensure that they come back stronger after the winter break to secure the club’s eighth top flight title in a row. While McGregor played at Hampden in the Scottish Cup semi-final defeat on penalties which Ronny Deila suffered at the hands of Mark Warburton in April 2016, Brendan Rodgers’ ten wins and two draws before yesterday meant that most of this Parkhead side have never tasted defeat in this fixture.

That all ended abruptly at Ibrox yesterday and McGregor insisted that the squad need to remember the hurt they are feeling this morning to ensure it never happens again. This was their fourth defeat on the road so far this season, with three draws in away matches too.

“It’s always tough at Ibrox and we’ve been fortunate in the past few years that we’ve done well here,” said McGregor. “But we anticipated a tough game and all credit to Rangers.

“They came after us and unsettled us, so there was a feeling inside the dressing room that a lot of the lads have not felt before,” he added. “We need to remember that feeling and use it to galvanise the squad, be better during the winter break and make sure we are picking up points away from home. We have to remember this feeling for the next time.

“We’re still top of the league (on goal difference) with a game in hand, so we’re still in a good position. As long as we go away in the winter break, work hard and get that freshness back into the team again, we’ll be looking to win our game in hand and set-up a good second-half to the season. If you look at our away results, they haven’t been good enough. That is something we need to address in the winter break and come back stronger in the second part of the season to make sure we are getting more points away from home.”

There were no excuses from McGregor yesterday – injuries to key players, tiredness and adjusting to the reduced allocation of the fans may all have been factors, but ultimately Celtic never gave themselves a chance of winning the game because they were unable to get their usual fluent passing game going in the face of Rangers’ ferocious pressing.

“It’s a sore one for us,” said McGregor. “We have to hold our hands up. We weren’t good enough on the day – Rangers deserved it. We just have to take our medicine, move on and try to come back stronger.

“They were more aggressive, they were winning second balls and we didn’t pass it well enough,” he added. “We couldn’t keep it for long periods of the game and when you do that you don’t give yourself a chance.

“I don’t think the amount of games we’ve played had an impact. A game like this takes care of itself and you get through on adrenaline.

“There was too many times when we gave it away under no real pressure. We kept passing it out of the pitch and giving them throw-ins which switches the momentum of the game and we were just too sloppy

“It [the reduced allocation of 750 away fans] is a difference but we never gave ourselves a chance in the game. When you are that sloppy and you don’t keep the ball then ultimately their crowd is going to get up the same way that we were at Celtic Park. I thought the fans were great, I am just disappointed we couldn’t get anything for them.”

While McGregor managed to maintain his own personal standards despite playing in an unfamiliar left back role, the midfield struggled without his influence. Even from left back, he had the ball in the net, rolling the ball sweetly past his namesake, Rangers goalkeeper Alan, although his equaliser was correctly ruled out by the offside flag.

“I heard it was as tight as it can be,” said McGregor. “Some days you get them, some days you don’t. Wherever the manager asks you to play then you go in and try to do your best. That was the case today, just trying to fill in and do what you can. But ultimately it wasn’t good enough performance to get the win.”