Callum McGregor may not have been the one to bag the winning penalty tonight, but his contribution didn’t go unnoticed by a grateful Scotland support.
The Celtic man was absolutely outstanding as he dominated the midfield against a talented Serbian engine-room that contained the likes of Lazio star Sergey Milinkovic-Savic. On this night, the Serie A star was second-best to the mercurial McGregor, and not for the first time after our double-headed success against them last season.
McGregor was entrusted by Steve Clarke to last the full 120 minutes this evening, and he didn’t look short of energy come full-time. After rattling home his penalty kick, his contribution to the game was over with a kick that symbolised the effect he had tonight – an emphatic one.
And when you break down everything he did this evening, you can’t help but feel delighted for him.
The Lennoxtown academy graduate was constantly breaking up Serbia’s attacks with some terrific positional play and awareness in the midfield. However, he wasn’t just sticking to the central area either.
McGregor was back picking up scraps around our own box whilst also winning the ball high up in Serbia territory. That’s how he bagged his assist too.
He managed to anticipate a loose ball before quickly finding team-mate Ryan Christie. McGregor then made a clever run which then helped open the space up for Ryan, and he did the rest with a beautiful finish.
Even in extra-time as the game got more and more difficult and players were getting energy-sapped, McGregor was still all over it. Still, he was making crucial interceptions and helping Scotland to keep the ball without adding needless pressure onto ourselves. As much as he could at least as the hosts piled on more pressure.
It was also interesting to note McGregor’s reaction to the full-time whistle. With everyone looking deflated, he was the one who was going around telling his team-mates to keep their chins up.
He was a captain in every sense of the word tonight – a captain without the armband. On the pitch and off the pitch, Callum continues to go from strength to strength.
And the nation has indeed fallen in love with the Celtic star tonight. Here’s a look at the reaction to his stunning display:
Ryan Jack and Callum McGregor carried the team in ET.
— robbie (@robbiejh96) November 12, 2020
Callum McGregor would slot into a Prime Spain team….the guy is a Rolls Royce footballer 🏴
— Fitzy 🍀 (@Fitzy_072) November 12, 2020
Callum McGregor picking up so many second balls tonight. Been superb
— Lewis 🍋 (@LewisLaird01) November 12, 2020
I’m still confident that Callum McGregor is Celtic’s best player .. no doubt some will disagree, but my opinion. Consistency, composure, technically brilliant. Something we haven’t been able to say about a Scottish midfielder for a good few years
— Scott 🏴 (@FonaldQ) November 12, 2020
Callum mcgregor has been superb for Scotland tonight! What a performance so far!
— Paul Fraser © (@fraser1980) November 12, 2020
What a performance this was from Callum McGregor. Huge at the right stage when things haven't been right at Celtic.
Dominated Sergey Milinkovic-Savic in midfield, got the assist and scored his penalty. Worked his socks off. Hopefully turns the season around for Celtic.
— Kaustubh Pandey (@Kaus_Pandey17) November 12, 2020
Take back everything negative I’ve ever said about Callum McGregor
— Josh🏴 (@joshpaterson__) November 12, 2020
Callum McGregor inspirational there.
— David (@DaveO1995) November 12, 2020
Callum Mcgregor has been immense tonight. Best man on the park. Doing it when it matter for Scotland 🤷🏻♀️🍀🍀🍀
— JMag88 (@j_mag88) November 12, 2020