Callum McGregor was once underrated at Celtic for a very long time.
He was so underrated, there was once a time where fans wouldn’t have been disappointed if he’d have been moved on.
However, as we leave 2018 behind us and get ready to enter a new year, McGregor is essential to Celtic.
His rise from greedy winger to midfield maestro has been aided heavily by Brendan Rodgers.
He’s made 204 Celtic appearances since his debut in 2014, and fans will be praying he’s here for another 200 more.
Since Rodgers arrived, his man-management of certain players has earned him plaudits. Tom Rogic and James Forrest are two who have established themselves as match winners for Celtic under the Northern Irishman.
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However, McGregor may go down as Rodgers’ finest project at Celtic. He has converted the midfielder from a model of inconsistency to a model professional.
Every young footballer in Scotland should wish to be like McGregor. He plays the game in the right manner and his use of the ball is usually impeccable.
2018 has been the year that has seen McGregor establish himself as one of Celtic’s main players.
He started the year by scoring a sensational volley in the Europa League against Zenit St. Petersburg.
From then on in his importance to Celtic has continued to grow exponentially by the week.
He also got in on the act when Celtic demolished Rangers 5-0 to clinch their seventh league title in April.
Weeks earlier, he added Celtic’s second in their 4-0 drubbing of their rivals in the Scottish Cup.
He fired home a rocket with his weaker right foot to give the Hoops the lead in the Scottish Cup Final. This was the year McGregor became the biggest big-game player at the club.
He marked the end of his wonderful year by making his 200th appearance for the club. He signed a new contract keeping him at Parkhead until 2023.
The fans will be hoping he’s here for a lot longer than that. McGregor has become a real fans’ favourite at Celtic.
In a deeper midfield spot, his new role has given him license to control and dominate games now.
His performance against RB Leipzig at home in the Europa League showed he also has the guile to be a future Celtic captain.
His leadership roles may be largely untested as of yet, but if 2019 and beyond is anything like 2018, then McGregor wearing the armband may become a familiar sight.
He certainly won’t ever be underrated again.