Since Robbie Neilson was sacked at the beginning of April, Steven Naismith has been filling in on an interim basis. He remains in the running to take over on a permanent basis but, it is understood, he now faces competition from the Celtic assistant manager.
“Can I understand why clubs would look at him? Absolutely,” said McGregor. “John has been a massive part of our success for many years. He has been a huge part of things under the gaffer and I am not surprised teams are looking to take him. But, selfishly, we want to keep him for as long as we can.
“A lot of the work John does goes under the radar but the people at the club understand his value as an assistant manager. I am sure he will go on to be a top manager too as he’s been outstanding, but I hope we can keep him for as long as possible.”
The Celtic and Scotland midfielder was speaking after the league and cup winners were defeated 4-2 by Hibs at Easter Road on Wednesday night. It was a disappointment for a team more familiar with celebrating victories but it is not something to get worked up about according to the man who is hoping to become the first in world football to bag five top flight trebles when he and his team-mates take on Championship side Inverness Caledonian Thistle in next weekend’s Scottish Cup final.
“We have dipped a little bit, whether that’s physically being a little bit tired or the demands that the run took out of the team. When the objective is complete, it’s maybe human nature that you subconsciously take a little bit of a step back.
“But you have to put it into context. If anyone is trying to pick holes in the group for whatever reason, you just have to look at what we did up to winning the title. It’s been outstanding, very minimal mistakes and hardly any dropped points. There have been massive winning streaks, we showed hunger, desire, everything.”
But, despite easing to their 11th title in 12 seasons, they have won just one of their last five league games.
“Of course we are disappointed with the post-split fixtures and results,” said the 29 year-old. “But up until becoming champions, we were outstanding. Yes, we want to maintain as high a standard as possible but sometimes it doesn’t quite work like that.
“I’ve no doubt we can lift ourselves for the final. I’m full of belief. We have a big game on Saturday [when the Premiership trophy will be presented] and it’s a chance to celebrate the title, and for the supporters to celebrate an unbelievable season. We already have one cup in the bag and after Saturday, full focus switches to the [Scottish Cup] final.
“We’ve a good track record of coming through in the big games and the big moments. That gives us the confidence that we will be ready to go for the final.”