THE periodic excitement that builds among Rangers supporters that their side may be about to overtake their great rivals once more – and the anxiety among Celtic supporters that the same may happen - reached fever pitch when Neil Lennon’s permanent appointment was confirmed in the aftermath of the Scottish Cup final in May.

Back at Hampden some seven months later, Lennon’s team quelled the resurgence from the blue side of the city once again, and according to midfielder Callum McGregor, vanquished any doubts about his boss’s suitability for the post following the departure of Brendan Rodgers.

It is difficult to say just which of these achievements satisfies McGregor more, relishing the opportunity to put Celtic’s rivals back in their place as much as vindicating the day-to-day work that Lennon carries out on the training pitch through the relentless achievements of his team.

“He had such a big task when he came in,” McGregor said. “But he’s a winner, he handled that – and he galvanised the group when it happened.

“Think about it, he came in and was asked to win two trophies. And he did that. Now he’s added another, on a day when people were maybe looking at him and asking if he could do it.

“He shows that winning mentality within the group. You can see in the performance of players exactly what the manager is. And all the other tactical side of stuff, the backroom staff are unbelievable – and he’s a massive part of that every day. All his attributes were shown in that performance.”

The winning mentality that McGregor references doesn’t just happen by accident, but rather is the result of daily reminders over what is expected from a Celtic player.

“His standards are super high every single day,” he said.

“He comes out to training and, if one or two are off, he stops it. He just tells us we’re off it, makes us get back on it. That’s the way we work.

“We don’t have an off-day. We don’t have an easy day. Every day we’re trying to get better. And he is the man who steps in and makes that happen. Straight away, he gets everyone back on it.

“Those are the standards he drives every day, along with Broony (Scott Brown) and certain other ones. That showed in our willingness to win against Rangers.”

As the man who has played more times than anyone else during Celtic’s glory run of 10 trophies in a row - McGregor has now made 129 league and cup appearances during that period - he knows more than anyone that the biggest enemy to his side is complacency.

“We probably found ourselves lucky to be 0-0 at half-time on Sunday, thanks to the big man (Fraser Forster) making some great saves,” he said.

“But, even though we don’t play well, we find a way. That’s the most important thing in this group. “We’ll probably get to many more finals and never play that badly again. But it shows the character in this team.

“The treble Treble probably gets overlooked because we’ve been so dominant. But, even within that period, we had difficult moments in the cup final against Hearts, I remember – and still came through it.

“We’ve shown that, when we’re really up against it, we can pull through.”