McGregor is finally getting the international spotlight he deserves

By David Walton

September 11, 2018

Callum McGregor’s Scotland career is finally well off the mark after the latest set of international fixtures.

The Celtic ace put in another couple of fine displays for Scotland against Belgium and Albania respectively. The fact he was right up there for man of the match on both occasions isn’t a surprise.

It’s easy to say McGregor has been doing this kind of stuff for Celtic for years. In reality though, McGregor is improving his game steadily under Brendan Rodgers. When the Northern Irishman came to the club, he immediately seen something in McGregor that many didn’t.

McGregor came close to scoring against both Belgium and Albania (Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)

Instantly, the former Notts County loan star threw up decent displays. Up against the likes of Tom Rogic and Stuart Armstrong, McGregor’s hunger and attitude got him in the side. Since then, he hasn’t looked back.

Last season was perhaps McGregor’s most impressive year in a Celtic jersey. Everything he now does is almost doubly as quick. When he was thrust onto the scene by Ronny Deila, he looked incredibly raw. The Norwegian stuck with him, but not many improvements were being made to his game.

Key Development

Under Rodgers, he’s been developing himself up to a whole new level, and is now a big-game player. Goals against Bayern Munich and Rangers will have shot up his own self-belief as well as his development.

A stubborn way of thinking from former Scotland manager Gordon Strachan meant McGregor’s opportunities at international level were limited. Despite being an able player, he just wasn’t getting a shot. Meanwhile, the likes of Barry Bannan and Darren Fletcher continued to falter the national team’s chances of success.

Former manager Gordon Strachan suffered for not using McGregor (Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)

It took Strachan up until the final set of qualifiers to select McGregor. Even then, the then-Scotland manager chose not to select him in his starting XI.

Alex McLeish appears to be smarter than Strachan in that regard. The Scotland manager is a huge fan of McGregor. Added to that, he made him a starter in both of the last two international matches.

McGregor repaid the faith. Somehow, he didn’t get on the score-sheet against Albania, but for the majority of the match, he bossed the midfield and showed a terrific turn of pace.

This will only help his development as a whole. McGregor’s exposure to international football is long overdue. His performances have been demanding it ever since he broke through under Rodgers.

Whether McLeish continues to select the youngster remains to be seen. But it’s about time that the Celtic star showed his true value on the international stage.