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.