The Celtic Captain Needed A Break. But Not This Way, And Not For Long.

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God. Did I cause this damned thing?

At a time like this, weird stuff like that goes through your mind. In the week I wrote that we should not appeal the sending off against Motherwell because Callum McGregor needs a break he looks like he’s going to get one.

But for the love of … I didn’t mean that he should sit on the side-lines for weeks or even months.

When Ange said last night that it “doesn’t look good” my heart sank.

A few games in the stand would do Callum no harm at all. An extended spell on the treatment table … well that’s bad for him and it’s bad for Celtic and at the worst possible time.

There are people in our support who have an under-appreciation for Callum McGregor.

I know this because I know a couple of them.

I’m not saying that this is their fondest wish, but they do believe that he’s part of what ails us sometimes. They are about to get a harsh, hard lesson in what he does for this team. We all are. It’s going to be tough.

My hope that Callum sat a few matches out comes from my recognition that he’s vital to this team and the last thing we needed was for such a player to burn out. What I did not want was to see what alternatives we had in the squad.

Because, with all respect to his possible understudies, there’s no-one in the squad who does what he does.

My frustration with him last night was obvious to those I watched the game with and those online who saw my half-time tweet about his getting caught too far up the pitch for the opening goal. But I know what Callum does in this team; he does the work few people watch for, and even fewer understand when they see it.

These players – the McGregor’s, the Brown’s, the Lennon’s – they do the grunt work.

They do the cleaning up. One of the things about seeing Callum back in that non-sexy role is that he is a superb attacking footballer when he’s played further up the pitch.

You don’t get to see Callum’s full range in that holding role. But we’ll notice it if he’s gone a while.

Others are now going to have to step up, and in particular Oliver Abildgaard, who we’ve all been waiting to see and are now going to become very familiar with.

As with all other moments like this, it is up to those others to step up when the chance comes.

For him, it’s here … and as interested as I am in seeing how he does, I would not have had it this way, not even close.

We’re going to miss Callum immensely.

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  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Massive loss if he’s out. Main engineer and organizer in our midfeild. At fault for their first goal and done his knee in the process, tho ye seen the huge difference in the team when he went aff. Agree, he possiblly needed a game or 2’s rest, tho dont think that had anythin tae dae with last night’s events. Badly need him back asap, we’re no near the same team without him in there imo.

  • MarkE says:

    We tend to put certain players on a pedestal and can see no wrong in them, but McGregor has a costly mistake a game in him, and the team looked better when Abildgaard replaced him, though he can’t do it all himself in the middle.

    Ange needs to hold his hands up and admit his system doesn’t wash at CL level!
    The writing was on the wall before a ball was kicked last night, with the same counter attacking opposition attacks that have plagued this Celtic team for a while now costing them dearly, a tactic even St Mirren found success employing

    • Kevan McKeown says:

      Watchin a different game from me then mate. Abildgaard did ok, but tae say we were BETTER when he came on’s just nonsense. Aye Mcgregor wasnt at his best, but even then, was obvious the dig or organisation in our mid was never the same when he went aff. Could see the influence missin big time in that midfield. There were a few underperformin players worse than him on that park wearin Celtic jerseys.

      • MarkE says:

        Didn’t see Abildgaard make a goofy mistake that cost us a goal, in fact we scored one after he replaced the golden one.

        Maybe (?) there’d be room in midfield for them both, but I’d choose Abildgaard if were a straight up choice between the two, with O’Riley beside Abildgaard to solidify the middle of the team; McGregor-Abildgaard-O’Riley might work, but only if they put more emphasis on holding the midfield and leave the forward play to more creative players, but tbh I’m sick of the daft mistakes McGregor makes; he’s been making one costly mistake a game of late!

        Ange really needs to rethink his system and personnel

        • Kevan McKeown says:

          The goal happened right at the start of the 2nd half so whit are ye talkin about, nothin tae dae wi him replacin mcgregor. Ffs your jumpin on the guy for takin a bad touch, countin mistakes and ye’ve got Abildgaard a better player after half a game. Mcgregors been a wedge peg in our midfield these last few seasons and before that. Easily one of our most important players.The only one in that mid wi some real dig when it matters and our midfields been way too lightweight for long enough. It had tae be strengthened and thats why Abildgaards been brought in. Far too early tae tell if he’s a ‘better’ player.

          • MarkE says:

            Aye he’s been an important player, but like i said, he’s been making a goofy mistake per game for weeks now, and those mistakes cost us goals in the CL; I’m not looking at just one performance of his, this has been going on for a long time now.

  • S Thomas says:

    Joe hart will get the stick, but ange is the manager and his tactics that are at fault in these games. Joe hart if was up to him, would kick the ball up the park, but ange wants us to play out from the back like man city, a mean that’s ok if you have elite level players who can do that, but we don’t. We have some very good players, but not elite level. But also, this is turning into some sort of football autopsy, as well. Look at all the other champions league results, some teams have taking absolute tankings. This is the champions league, this is what can happen. I mean if we want to be in the champions league, then this is what happens at this level. Ajax got hammered 6-1 at home, ac Milan were beaten 3-0 last night, Sevilla got hammered 4-1 at home. I think a wee bit over the top with the result last night. Regroup and go again, home form is paramount in this competition, if you pick anything up away from home it’s a bonus.

  • S J Turnbull says:

    Callum will be missed, however I’ve always said that getting to the CL group stages is our aim, anything more is a bonus.

  • Starman says:

    If we get a pt against Leipzig & beat Shaktaar then 5 pts wd get us in Europa last 16 which is DEFO our level! Leipzig & Shaktaar are the same, NAEWHERE near CL Level!! Were we tae beat baith at home then 7 pts wd probably get us 2nd but we’d have NO CHANCE in CL last 16!!! Secure the EL last 16 spot then get the League dun by March as the FILTH will NOT even be in the Wi-Fi Cup they sagged us for last Yr BAWAHAHAHAHAHA!!

  • Hugh says:

    Ange might want to play out from the back but in all circumstances. Joe needs to be more aware of his surroundings and when it can and can’t be played out otherwise it has to stop.
    As for Calmac being too far forward at the goal, his first touch was poor yet still tried to shoot, have a look at where our two central defenders were, both on oppositions penalty spot with only Hatate and JJ back. same too at first offside goal Welsh was totally out of it on halfway line. At Harts mess up he does not see Welsh in Right back position for the play and elects to play to taylor, Welsh seeing the play as he must, tries to shuffle back having not a hope of retrieving the situation rather than stepping forward to leave scorer in offside position. As for him having a good game then, if all his passes either square to Jenz or wide to JJ consitutes a good game the you are easy pleased as he did little else other than be out of position when he needed not to be. We will not go far with him at the back if this is the level of coaching.

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