BBC radio presenter Tam Cowan has had a bizarre dig at Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor, claiming his game-time doesn’t merit praise.

The famous Off the Ball host had a pop at McGregor’s achievement of playing 69 matches this season. Instead, Cowan dismissed the incredible numbers McGregor achieved over the last 12 months.

In fairness to Cowan, he did claim that he likes McGregor. He includes him as a rival player he “loves”, but it still didn’t stop him from having a pretty petty pop at him.

Callum McGregor has had a stunning year at Celtic (Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Here’s what Cowan had to say in his Scottish Sun column over the weekend:

“These days, a firm favourite of mine at a rival club is Celtic and Scotland midfielder Callum McGregor and I’m not surprised to hear his former boss Brendan Rodgers is keen on taking him to Leicester.

“But no matter how much I admire him, I wish we’d reel in this nonsense about the number of matches he played last season. According to reports this week, McGregor featured in 69 fixtures — one game every 4.8 days — and that’s close to a European record.


“So what? The football fraternity should dry their eyes.”

A record unmatched this season

Cowan tried to refer to a tennis match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut almost 10 years ago. A match that lasted over three days at Wimbledon back in 2010. He tried to claim that shows how footballers can’t moan about tiredness. But guess what Tam? Both men got praised immensely for it, and are still remembered for that slugfest today.

McGregor deserves all the praise going (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

To achieve 69 appearances says so much about the consistency levels McGregor has shown throughout the season. It’s not just a case of turning up and being selected by the manager. It’s the fact that McGregor has managed to keep his place in a crowded Celtic midfield all season.

He’s also Scottish too, which adds another element of romance to the achievement. And the fact McGregor managed to achieve so many Celtic and Scotland appearances without picking up injuries or knocks shows how much he looks after his own body.

McGregor played an incredible 10 times for Scotland last season too (Soccrates/Getty Images)

Why shouldn’t that be celebrated and heralded for the fine achievement that it is? None of us, including Cowan, knows how much playing 69 games in a single season can affect you. But it’s well-known that fatigue in football is a huge barrier for players, so why Cowan wants to dismiss it as if fatigue in football doesn’t exist is a tad odd.

McGregor should be patting himself on the back every day for his numbers last season. He’s already confirmed that he has just a 12-day break before joining up with pre-season training. At the very least, the midfield dynamo deserves recognition for his hard work.


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