It may have been Scott McTominay and John McGinn who stole the headlines in Scotland’s midfield on Friday night, but Celtic captain Callum McGregor was a crucial part of the national team machine in the win over Cyprus.
The incredible Euro qualifying run from Steve Clarke’s side continued with a 3-0 win away from home. McTominay, McGinn and Ryan Porteous were all on the scoresheet, leaving Scotland on the brink of automatic qualification for next summer’s tournament.
McGregor was a lynchpin in the middle of the park. Although he did not provide much of an attacking threat, he provided the platform that allowed others such as McGinn to push forward and impact the game in the final third.
The Celtic captain was efficient with his distribution, completing 59 of his 65 attempting passes – a rate of 91%. He was instrumental in the midfield area, linking play from the defence into the opposition half, with 11 of his passes penetrating into the final third.
Defensively he was crucial too, making three interceptions and five recoveries as well as a clearance. He won half of his duels in the air and on the ground, also drawing one foul.
Across 79 touches, he also had a shot on target and successfully completed a dribble, showing that he could get himself forward from time to time.
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McGregor is a man more than happy to run the show for club and country while others get the goals and assists. His performance in Cyprus is another sign he is turning around some below-par early-season form to get back to his best.
The Bhoys stalwart was excellent in last week’s derby against Rangers and we can have some confidence he’ll carry this momentum into the UEFA Champions League group stage.
The upcoming ‘friendly’ against England will be a brilliant test for him against some elite players and Celtic fans will be keenly watching to see how he fares.