Let’s talk about two young Scottish players, playing in Glasgow.
They are both getting a lot of media coverage at the moment.
Both spent time in the Nottingham area, playing for the clubs down there.
One succeeded, one failed.
They are Jason Cummings and Callum McGregor. One of them is 24, the other 22. You expect the 24 year old to be the more mature … and he is. But the gulf in class, on and off the park, is stark. This is about attitude and temperament.
I am so impressed by the growth and development of Callum McGregor.
Like Cummings, he went down to England but unlike him he was a star down there. He played at Notts County and played over 41 times for them, and scored 14 goals. Cummings flopped at Notts Forest and has returned to Scotland and Sevco to rebuild his career.
I can’t help wondering if his career would need it if he wasn’t such a goon, if he wasn’t more interesting in goofing around and his social media presence and how he’s perceived than in actually knuckling down and doing the hard graft as a player.
Every time I see this guy in the paper now he’s either daring rival fans to give him stick or talking about how he is enjoying himself. Last week, in the run up to Zenit, all Callum was talking about was the hard work, the job, the graft. He is so focussed it’s scary.
Today he’s talked about how getting the captain’s armband has been six years in the making; it is amazing to think that Callum has been in our squad for about six years, since he was 18. His goal against Zenit was on his 150’s appearance for the club. He has already played 100 times for us in the league. And now he’s deputising for Scott Brown.
No player deserves this more.
Let’s not forget that Callum has drifted in and out of the team. That he’s been played out of position at times. And for all that, he is a born winner. His trophy haul is impressive for someone so young; three league titles, two League Cups, a Scottish Cup and two Youth Cups. He is on course for another league winner’s medal for this campaign.
He played 44 games for us last season, in all competitions. He has 40 this season already. He is a stalwart of this team, and has matured into a fantastic young player. He is a great example to kids coming up everywhere.
Cummings is getting a lot of ink, but it’s more to do with what comes out of his mouth than what he does on the park. Kevin Thomson, now a coach at Ibrox but a former Hibs player, has told him that he has to seize his chance at the club, in a coded warning to him to get his head down and start working hard.
Will he listen? In my view he’s at the wrong club for that; he will be over-indulged at Ibrox and the fans will worship him whether he produces on the park or not as long as he talks trash off it. He’s already figured that out.
The clamour will have started to call him up for the Scotland squad; Sevco fans are still smarting at the core of the last few teams being made up of Celtic players, as though this was not about merit. I couldn’t care less who plays for Scotland whilst McLeish is manager and I wholly expect him to shoe-horn Cummings and others from Ibrox in there somewhere.
But on merit, McGregor will be there come what may, regardless.
This kid is going right to the top of the game. I don’t believe Cummings is going to make it. He seems to think football is a gas. McGregor has twigged that it’s hard work, real work, dedication and commitment. He has shown it. That’s why he’s where he is today.
You can also follow us on Twitter at @The_Celtic_Blog