Scott Brown spoke yesterday about the leadership at Celtic Park, and he picked out his model for the next generation.
It was Callum McGregor.
I was slightly surprised, because I’ve always thought that it was Ajer who best exemplified the leadership qualities we will miss so much when Scott finally hangs up his boots; on reflection though, our current captain is right.
For openers, what do we know about Callum behind the scenes?
He seems personable, sometimes even shy, in interviews and stuff, but I imagine he’s a very different personality behind the scenes and in training. The way he plays, as the main component of the Celtic midfield engine room, hints as his battling qualities as well as his huge talent.
Brown could not have given him more praise if he tried.
“When you look inside a dressing room, you know that people will follow someone like Callum because he is a top player with drive and belief,” he said.
“I give him the respect that he deserves because he goes in and he speaks to all of the lads. He’s always got time and he’s a proper professional as well … When we were dealing with stuff when this (the shutdown) all began to happen, he was my go-to man. He came up with a lot of things and has helped me out with a lot of the lads as well.”
Brown continued to lavish praise on his team-mate. “It’s the mark of a captain that he can easily fall into that role. In the last year and a half, I’d say, he’s got that proper willingness, drive and self-belief. When he talks before games now, all of the lads listen.”
And that’s the key part, right there, that other players now see Callum in the leadership position, that they believe in him and turn to him when the chips are down.
If that’s the case – and Brown said it is so I believe him – then not only do we have another real leader at the club but we should be using the captaincy as a carrot to dangle in front of Callum for the future.
It wasn’t enough to make Tierney stay, but it might just be the final thing McGregor needs to make Celtic his home for the remainder of his career.
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