Date: 22nd February 2018 at 12:19pm
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Celtic’s Callum McGregor is at last receiving the recognition that he so richly deserves. When manager Brendan Rodgers wanted to rest Scott Brown, who usually captains the Hoops, it was to McGregor he turned to step into the role. It fulfilled a dream that the young Scot has harboured since his early childhood.

For the 24-year old it was a bitter/sweet experience. Sweet from the point of view of achieving his ambition, but bitter because Celtic could only manage a 0-0 draw against St Johnstone.

Wholesale changes disrupt flowing football

The real blame for the dropped points however, probably lies at the doorstep of the manager. After the 1-0 win at home against Zenit, Brown decided to rest seven players; basically to give them time to recover and play in the return fixture in Saint Petersburg.

Celtic do have a large pool of players and rotation is necessary to give all individuals a run out; but seven changes is a huge percentage, and it’s only to be expected that such wholesale changes will destabilise any team. Nonetheless, McGregor still wishes that his first shot at captaincy would have produced a winning result.

The homegrown player

McGregor is a homegrown talent. He worked his way up through the Glasgow Celtic youth system. Before making his debut for the first team against Reykjavík on 15 July 2014, McGregor was sent out on a five-month loan deal to Notts County in August 2013.

It wasn’t long before he was in goal scoring action, scoring his debut goal for “the Magpies” in a league cup match against Fleetwood Town.

After making his Celtic debut against KR Reykjavík in the champions league qualifier (a game in which he scored the only goal) he went on to score goals against Legia Warsaw and NK Maribor as the tournament progressed.

His Scottish Premier debut came against St Johnstone on 13 August 2014 scoring his first competitive SP goal in a match that Celtic won 3-0.

McGregor acknowledges he owes Tommy Burns a big vote of thanks

McGregor says that he owes his success to the Celtic legend, Tommy Burns. He recollects that Burns used to take time to visit him and speak to him while he was training through the youth set-up. The young Scot reminisces how the ex-Celtic player would often turn up at training sessions and would pull the him aside to tell him that in his estimation he had a great chance of getting into the first team if he carried on training to fulfill the promise he showed.

Burns would also talk to McGregor’s mother and father on a regular basis, telling them that their son would be a star and just needed to go on to prove it.

Burns’ words turned out to be prophetic. Callum McGregor is indeed one of the best stars Celtic has on its books. It’s only a matter of time before he gains the recognition he deserves at international level playing for his country. To date he has only been given one full cap.

A regular choice in the Scottish national team line-up

Surely, it’s only a matter of time before he becomes a regular in the Scottish team’s starting line-up. Given the chance, he could be a bigger thorn in the side of opposing national teams like England, as were the likes of Andy Aitken and Kenny Dalglish in years gone by.

Brendan Rodgers is one of McGregor’s biggest fans and says that if McGregor was Spanish, the football world would be raving about him.

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