By Noel Whelan

16th Nov, 2019 | 8:00am

'Brilliant news' - Exclusive: Pundit reacts as Celtic have agreed £8m new deal

Celtic have been hailed for the “brilliant news” of tying star man Callum McGregor down to a new and improved contract.

That is the verdict of ex-Aberdeen striker Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about the deal announced by the Glasgow giants last week.

The Scotland international, 26, has put pen to paper on a new five-year contract that ties him to the club until the summer of 2024.

The improved contract has lifted McGregor into the top bracket of earners at Celtic, with his new agreement worth around £30,000-a-week.

“It’s brilliant news for Celtic and their fans to tie McGregor down,” Whelan told Football Insider. “He’s made huge strides in the last few seasons and is now a key player for club and country.

“He’s so good that Neil Lennon feels he can’t afford to rest him or leave him out for any match, which tells you everything.

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“Celtic are really good at looking after their best players and getting them on long-term contracts.

“Obviously, there was interest in McGregor from Leicester in the summer and no doubt a few other Premier League clubs. He’s easily good enough to play in the Premier League, so well done to Celtic and Lennon for keeping him.”

McGregor has been one of Celtic’s most influential players during their remarkable run of three consecutive trebles, which has taken their title haul to eight in a row.

His central midfield partnership with Scott Brown has been integral to the Hoops’ excellent start to the season.

McGregor has already made a remarkable 26 appearances in this campaign, scoring five goals and supplying two assists from midfield.

In other Celtic news, it can be REVEALED that the club have set their sights on blowing Rangers away in race to sign red-hot striker.