It is a wonder that Callum McGregor has been able to drag himself through the last two matches, never mind being able to drag his teammates with him. But that is exactly what the Celtic captain, still afflicted by Achilles tendonitis, has managed to do. And just when his side needed him most.

McGregor turned in a ‘colossus’ of a performance in the centre of the park against Rangers on Saturday according to Celtic left-back Greg Taylor, and it was hard to argue with his assessment.

He ran the midfield along with Matt O’Riley, the two combining for Celtic’s opening goal and giving them the platform to go on and claim a win that will surely lead to them claiming the Premiership title once more.

READ MORE: McGregor vs Lundstram: How Celtic vs Rangers battle was won

That outcome looked far from certain not so long ago, with Celtic trailing Rangers by two points at one stage and with key men like McGregor and Daizen Maeda fearing that injuries may see them sidelined for the rest of the campaign.

Both men managed though to push through the pain barrier and make miraculous recoveries, and the importance of the presence of McGregor at the heart of the team cannot, in Taylor’s view, be over emphasised.

“He’s a winner, isn’t he?” Taylor said.

“He leads by example and drags other boys with him. He’s just a colossus in the middle of the park. A real leader for us.

“He inspires other people. He makes other people around him better, which is an unbelievable trait to have as well as his individual performance [level]. It’s amazing to have him.

“Achilles tendonitis isn’t good. I’ve suffered with it and still suffer with it, so I feel him there - it’s tough in the morning.

“Everyone wanted him back because we know what he can do for us, but I don’t think it’s a case of us running extra hard because Callum is in pain. We’re running hard because we want to win for the team.

“That’s the main focus, the main objective.”

While Reo Hatate had something of an off day at the weekend, and drew some criticism from Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers because of the frequency by which he ceded possession, if even two of that first choice midfield three are on form it can be hard for any team domestically to live with.

The trio may be broken up in the summer, with suitors sure to revisit their interest in O’Riley, and while it would be a huge loss to Celtic, they will be able to command a serious fee for a player who has excelled this term.

“He’s a top player who has had an unbelievable season,” Taylor said.

“He was comfortably the best player in the country up until January, and he’s peaking again right now.

“The last few weeks he has been outstanding and a real pivotal player for us.”

READ MORE: Celtic back up McGregor's talk as champions surge for line

And so, it is on to Rugby Park on Wednesday night for Celtic as they get their first of two opportunities to clinch the league title, a stadium where Taylor acknowledges they have had their fair share of problems this season.

It would seem then that this would be a good opportunity for Rodgers’ team to show that they are now a different beast to the side that suffered defeat at the same venue in the League Cup and then on Premiership duty earlier this season.

“I completely agree,” he said.

“Definitely. That’s the key point - if you look back at the team then compared to now, we’re a totally different animal.

“We’re peaking at the right time, but it’s important to recognise that there’s still football left in this season for us.

“That’s the real focus in that changing room. We know there is still a job to be done in the league, then it’s about hopefully taking good form into the cup final.

“We want to win the game, of course we do. It’s the next game and that’s always the most important.

“We know now that we can win the league in that game, so the focus is on going there to try to win, at a difficult venue against a team who have done really well this season.”