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The Celtic Captain Has Taken Some Unbelievable Stick Of Late. People Should Know Better.

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Earlier on, I did my piece on Keith Jackson’s latest dreck in which I agreed with him on one subject; that was an excellent performance yesterday from Callum McGregor.

The captain was brilliant, from the start of the match in the Huddle where he was clearly rallying the team to the minute the final whistle went. I thought the whole display was great.

I was going to write about Callum last week, in the aftermath of comments from the Clyde hack Gordon Daizell who accused him of “contributing nothing.” I thought that was ludicrous. Callum might not have been at his best, but who in the team was?

The idea that the captain of this club had not been contributing to the cause is clearly daft, but the thing is, I was hearing this from elsewhere too, including amongst that section of our support which always seems to want someone to blame these days.

Callum has had stick like this before, even when we’ve been playing well. Scott Brown used to get the same, and Neil Lennon undoubtedly had it before him and it has nothing to do with them being captains but because of the role they played in the side, that midfield anchor position which is unsexy and unspectacular and which largely goes unheralded.

So, a lot of this is just the standard criticism that accrues to any footballer playing in that role. Callum has had to put up with it before, and these guys had to before him.

There are few players who have given us such service as those three players and yet they were subjected to this over and over again. Still, I’m surprised to hear this levelled at Callum as in my view he’s the best technical footballer of the three of them and by quite a way.

I do so of understand how this criticism comes up. Because that role, although often undervalued, is actually the beating heart of this team. Callum McGregor is a supreme footballer and when he is off form it can seem that he takes the whole team down a notch.

That’s why it’s so important when he turns it on and up to nine, because when the player in that position functions the whole team is better. When he malfunctions, the team is less.

I think the change of system takes some of the pressure off the captain, because in going to a 4-4-2 we actually do away with the anchor role entirely and restore him to his position as a box-to-box midfielder. That, actually, causes a few problems because you don’t realise how critical the anchor role is to how we play until we’re no longer utilising it.

But it also enables McGregor to be more involved in an attacking sense, restoring him to the playmaking role where his range of passing and his vision are more apparent, and this is why it seemed that his performance was lifted a notch at the weekend.

I haven’t thought he was playing as badly as the negativity surrounding him suggested, because the guy in his position never gets the credit he deserves, but we really do miss Callum when he’s not dictating the game and passing the ball around the way he can.

The shift in formation has not just liberating Kyogo but the captain too … and that will make us better, week on week, until this whole team is functioning like a well oiled machine again.

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  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Right now ah think part of the problem, is that we don’t have an out and out mid enforcer tae take some of the pressure of McGregor, so he’s fillin in for much of that role as well. If we had spent and brought one in, ah think that would’ve freed him up a good bit and ah think we would see, just about every week, the player we know he is.

  • JimBhoy says:

    Top Bhoy. HH

  • Michael M says:

    I agree that he’s essential to how we play and an excellent technical footballer but Broonie’s stats in Europe in the Man City season will likely never be reached by a Celt again in Europe, 97% average in every department and was rightfully Player Of The Group Stage for his efforts.

    He barely put a foot wrong and I only hope Calum, or any other Celtic player, does supersede him next season, of course!

    But McGregor is the cog that winds the clock in this team and in Ange’s team also, an outstanding talent.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Cal Mac must be pure knackered (and obviously I’m talking about the Celtic captain and not the ageing rusting ferry fleet…

    Playing for Celtic domestically and in Europe, summer 2021 and with no rest as Scotland (unfortunately) got to Euro 2020 (delayed) and will unfortunately be there this summer as well so no close season rest this season either –

    Note the unfortunately opinion… As a lad born in Paisley many moons ago, I should really be rooting for Scotland to qualify for every tournament and Celtic players representing them, but my goodness that ship sailed a long long time ago thanks to Farry, Smith, Ogilvie, Dickson, Reagn, and Doncaster to name but a few and you know the tide ain’t turning back this Hoops fan in any way whatsoever…

    Celtic all the way… Clachnacuddin all the way… But Fcuk Scotland these days !

    • Jimmy says:

      He loves playing for his country. He will represent Scotland in Germany and will do his absolute best alongside lots of other Celtic men. There is clearly a great harmony in the national team which lifts all the fans. I couldn’t give a flying fox about clowns that you listed. I will be cheering on Calum, Greig Taylor Kieran Tierney John Mcginn Stuart Armstrong Ryan Christie and other Celtic men that will proudly wear the jersey despite your and others thinking.

  • Patrick Cannon says:

    Calum is at least a 7 almost every game and quite often more, watch him closely he never stops directing traffic, he pushes team mates on and often helps them when under pressure, take him out the team and see how we get on. Msm we expect shit but for celtic fans to follow and criticise is out of order HH

  • Jimmy says:

    Long and short of it is that he needs help. Players either off form or not good enough wearing the jersey on the park. In many games including sevco games he shows everyone that he is the best player in the country. He cannot do it alone all of the time. A Celtic legend, people should remember that.

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