There are people in our support who continue to underestimate the brilliance of Callum McGregor. It is difficult to understand that, because he’s such a good footballer and offers us so much when he’s on his game.
We missed him during his injury spell.
I was delighted to hear that he was playing in the Portuguese friendly, delighted because I knew it was only a matter of time before he was back in the team. I was even more pleased when Ange confirmed that he would be in the squad for today’s game.
McGregor offers us so much, from both an attacking and defensive point of view.
He runs, he tackles, he passes, he creates and when he gets forward he is always capable of scoring goals. Sky flashed his passing stats on the screen a few times yesterday and they were outrageous; we had over 600 passes in that game and he accounted for over 100 of them personally. That was a captain’s performance, and a captain’s goal.
It’s not even that he got up the pitch yesterday and scored.
Callum, sitting in his holding role, is still our best option in that area and the comfort of knowing he’s there, backing up the defence, allows other players in the team to get forward. O’Riley had a good game yesterday back up in his attacking spot.
Our team just has a greater balance when Callum is in the side.
What his goal proved, though, is how good an attacking weapon Callum is and this is the one regret I have whenever I see him playing that defensive role.
We miss that guy at the top end of the pitch, and he proved again yesterday that he is our best goal-scoring midfield player … albeit Hatate and O’Riley and Turnbull are doing their bit.
More than anything, he just leads the team so well.
Fears that he would not be able to drive the side on, like Scott Brown, have proved utterly unfounded.
He exemplifies our spirt and determination; this is the second time in a year that he’s come back early from an injury and pushed himself immediately back into the side and into the headlines.
What an example he sets for the rest of the squad.
What an inspiration he is to them. That’s what he offers us. That’s why it was so good to see him back. That’s why I couldn’t have been happier that he was the one who scored the winner.