Callum McGregor has called on Celtic fans to stick by the club after yet more pressure was piled on Peter Lawwell and the Parkhead board.
The Green Brigade fans group have called for the Hoops chief executive to resign having already called for the head of manager Neil Lennon before Christmas.
Lawwell is under fire with Celtic’s 10 In A Row bid all but up in smoke and the club copping flak for their ill-fated winter break in Dubai that ended with Christopher Jullien contracting covid and 16 players and staff sent in to isolation.
The Parkhead chief issued an apology this week – but was hit by a backlash after claiming Celtic had suffered more than most clubs amid the pandemic.
McGregor understands the anger and disappointment around the club at present – but he’s called for unity as the look to salvage the season.
The vice-captain said: “The message is about sticking together as a club – as players, supporters.
“It’s pretty obvious that if you have everyone working with each other and going in the same direction it will carry you a lot further.
“In that sense, we need that one direction and one message from the top of the club right down.
“The supporters are a massive driving force for what we try to do as a club.
“When we go out on the pitch we try to have success for them.
“So it’s important that we stick together, try to turn around and that everyone keeps the faith.”
McGregor reckons Lawwell’s claim about Celtic being hit hardest by the pandemic were misinterpreted.
He said: “I think in terms of actual performance, I think he was more talking along those lines in terms of having the fans and having the full stadium to roar the team on.
“Maybe in that sense he means more in terms of performance.
“Every team in the world has been affected financially with it and some more than others, but it’s a really difficult world we are living in just now and I think we just have to be as positive as we can, everyone try and help each other and just a general message of trying to help each other get through this because it’s such an unprecedented time.
“In hindsight it’s very regrettable what happened. When we booked it we felt it was a good decision at the time and we went with the best of intentions.
“Sometimes these things don’t work out the way they are supposed to.
“The club made a statement and Peter spoke about it so we hopefully can move on and focus on the football.”
The angry fans group accused Lawwell of ‘gross negligence’ and while the chief vowed to review manager Lennon’s position in January, the punter want a root and branch inquest in to where this season has gone wrong.
McGregor admitted the club in general have to learn from their mistakes this term.
He said: “It’s been a difficult season, there is no denying that.
“In football so much is unpredictable but at the start of the season if you’d written down everything that was going to happen on a bit of paper nobody would have believed you.
“That’s the situation we find ourselves and the most important thing for the players and everyone at the club is that we learn from this in a positive way.
“It’s easy to point the other way and start pointing fingers but we, as a club, have to learn from it.
“Whether it’s next season, we have to turn this around as quickly as possible.
“And next season, and seasons after that, we have have to learn from these difficult times.”
McGregor is not ready to roll up the white flag just yet this season, however, despite Celtic toiling 21 points adrift of Rangers.
The playmaker – who will skipper the side in Scott Brown’s absence against Livingston – said: “You can’t stop believing. We have the games in hand which could narrow the points difference so you can’t just look at the table and throw in the towel.
“It’s only January. We know it’s a difficult task and we have to win all of our games. You’d be hard pushed to see a lead like this overturned but we have to hope.
“The biggest thing is winning the games in hand and we have two massive games against them and we’ll see where the land lies after that.
“You’ve heard it a million times in football, things can change very quickly. We have to keep up the intensity and the mindset that it could happen.”