THE vast majority of the English Premier League games that have so far been played behind closed doors have offered very little for punters stuck at home to get excited about, so the prospect of performing the simple act of unfurling a flag with nobody there to see it hardly sets the pulses racing.

Truth is, flag day for any league winner is quite literally nothing without the fans, so it is hardly surprising that Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor is getting a little excited by plans to allow up to 30,000 spectators to attend matches at Celtic Park as early as August.

Safety, of course, is paramount, but if even half of the usual home gate could be inside the stadium to acclaim their nine-in-a-row heroes on the opening day of the campaign - or even thereabouts - then McGregor would be over the moon.

“It’s really welcome news,” McGregor said. “It was slightly unexpected to hear it could happen. I think everyone was in the mind frame that it could be October, November or even December before we had fans back.

“But all of a sudden the situation has changed for the better and things are looking more optimistic it could be earlier.

“Fingers crossed everything progresses in terms of the general health of the public. We want to see everyone safe and then the next step is returning to somewhere near normal.

“Everyone at the club just wants to get football back in some capacity and hopefully have fans in pretty sharpish.

“To have them back soon after the start would be tremendous. It would be brilliant to have a celebration of last season and a reunion with the fans again.

“It will feel a bit more like normal. We’d love it and I am sure the fans would feel the same.

“It’s going in the right direction and it would be a massive plus to get them back sooner than we maybe expected.

“The club are doing brilliant work in the background. They’ve been absolutely first class since the start of this pandemic.

“You look at what they have done getting the place ready for us to come back, right to the donations being made to the foundation and stuff.

“Now they are right at the forefront of getting the sport going and getting supporters back into the games.

“The games behind closed doors have not been ideal but we understand it might need to be the case at first. But it’s good to know the club are working as hard as they possibly can to bring everyone back together.

“That’s what this club is all about – the unity from top to bottom.”

At this moment, it is fair to say though that McGregor would love to get his teeth into any sort of competitive football match. A lack of games has hardly been an issue for the 27-year-old over recent years, quite the opposite in fact, and he’s getting itchy feet to get back on to the pitch.

“It’s unbelievable to think it’s about 115 days since my last game – usually I get about 11 days off in the summer,” he said.

“I don’t think I’ve ever gone this long without a game, not even back when I was at primary school.

“It’s just been a bit bizarre. I was still feeling good in the games and I felt in good shape and was flying in terms of fitness. But when you are doing it over three or four seasons in a row it does start to take its toll on your body a little bit.

“The enforced break has probably been beneficial in that respect. You still miss football though. This has been too long, but it has given me a chance to rest my body and take a break mentally.

“All it does is sharpen the focus because when you get back you are just desperate to get back playing games again and trying to get more success.

“It has been strange for me. I think I took the first week when everything was on high alert and just stayed in the house watching box sets and stuff.

“But by days four, five and six came along I was going demented and needed to be on the go again.

“After the first week I was back on it, going on runs and working in the gym. I very quickly got into a routine.

“It was tough mentally but the last few weeks being back in training has been excellent, just being on the grass again, seeing all the lads again.

“It’s been brilliant.”