Tonight, Scotland qualified for the next level of the Nations League. I don’t like the tournament format and won’t pretend to, but I can recognise a good achievement when I see it and tonight we’ve risen above England in the competition.
Which I can smile about, and which we can all smile about.
It is not an accident that one of the ever present parts of this unlikeliest success story is Callum McGregor, and I’m really chuffed for him. He has been a rock for Celtic and now is the critical cog in the big wheel for Scotland. He is the outstanding midfielder in the country, and now he’s the outstanding midfielder for his country.
No player in the game would benefit more from an extended break though. The guy has been through the wars in the last few years, and I only hope that there’s not a burnout somewhere down the line. But right now he continues to defy belief with his consistency and his performances for both club and for country.
Steve Clarke is lucky to have him and so are we. We most of all, because there would certainly have been considerable interest in Callum from south of the border if he had ever expressed a desire to leave Parkhead. His loyalty has been exceptional.
He didn’t have his best game tonight, but even a poor Callum McGregor is still better than nearly anyone else in the team, and that’s what he proves over and over again. Without him that would have been a poorer Scotland team and one that would not now be celebrating this triumph. I remain happy for him even as I long to see him get a rest.
This pretty much ends international fortnight and allows all of us to focus, again, on the stuff that really matters; watching Celtic. Although the papers are crossing their fingers that our “injured” players aren’t available to the manager I think most of them will be and I think rumours of a crisis are greatly exaggerated.
We’re almost back to the real business. The next couple of days will be about monitoring the guys to see who’s fit and available and who is not. But this is what we built the big squad for, and I’m sure that there’s not that much to worry about.