Callum McGregor’s interview after the game yesterday was exceptional.
He spoke brilliantly. You can see the way he has grown into the role as captain in his words, and you can feel a real sense of pride that we produced this fine man at our club.
But even more interesting than what he said about the mood of the dressing room, the standards which everyone accepts even on the training pitch, and how this reflects in what we are seeing happening out on the pitch, are his words on the manager.
Callum is one of the guys in that dressing room who sets the tone for the whole place, so when he speaks about Ange with awed respect, and claims that the boss commanded respect the second he walked through the door this is easy to accept and even easier to believe.
It speaks volumes about Ange and how he approached this role from Day One … and about how he was embraced by those in the dressing room who immediately bought into his vision.
It was a concern that many of us had at the time of Ange’s appointment. A concern that was greatly lessened the first time I sat in a room with the guy and heard him speak, saw how calm and in control he was, how he was relishing the campaign ahead.
That was last season, when he hadn’t done a thing, hadn’t won a match … and now he’s on the cusp of winning five trophies out of the first six. And it was clear to all the bloggers in the room that day that he was a capable and talented guy, and one who was worth listening to.
It’s obvious that the players thought the same; it comes through loud and clear in what Callum had to say, and it reminded me of a journalist asking Ange, shortly after he’d taken an early training session, how the players were responding to him. “They’re a little sheepish,” he said, and that was the first clear hint that they sensed and respected his authority.
This was not a man loaded down with any form of self-doubt.
That attitude and that temperament clearly made an immediate impression on the players, who had no idea what to expect. Any doubts about him would quickly have evaporated.
Callum spoke also about how Ange brings that calm and assurance to the whole place. It arises, Callum said, when it is needed. Players draw strength from knowing that in the heat of the battle there is a man of composure standing on the side-lines taking it all in and planning how he will respond to set-backs and changes in the moment.
It was a remarkable, although brief, insight into the boss from one of his ablest and most trusted lieutenants.
Everyone who hasn’t seen it should watch it and even those who have should watch it again and listen properly to Callum and the obvious respect in his voice. This is important to any understanding of where we are and how we got here.
You can watch the interview below.