Celtic captain Callum McGregor happy to park rivalry with Rangers man for now

By John McGinley

March 19, 2023

Celtic captain Callum McGregor has refuted the suggestion that club rivalry with Rangers players such as Ryan Jack will impact relationships in the Scotland camp.

Both midfielders have been selected for international duty as Scotland take on Cyprus and Spain in Euro 2024 qualifiers later this month.

McGregor and Jack have played in the same starting eleven before, a combination that the Celtic hero has enjoyed. He has now shut down any suggestion club rivalries are a distraction, noting that both players just have a strong desire to do well in whatever environment they find themselves in.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

McGregor too professional to get bogged down in disputes

The Bhoys star said, as quoted by The Sunday Post & Scottish Mail on Sunday [19/03 print editions]: “As you get older, you start to realise things. The reason we are playing at a high level is because we are highly-competitive. Ryan wants to win for his club, and I am desperate to win for mine. But when we both turn up for Scotland, we are both desperate for Scotland to do well.

“There are different rivalries throughout the camp, but the minute we go through the door as Scotland players, that is the only focus. It’s great to see Ryan back in there. Playing with him was good. We struck up a nice partnership and our games complemented each other. When we go away we are all Scotland players and we are all pulling in the same direction. We all want to be successful. To be honest we are too busy to be talking about anything else!”

McGregor is undoubtedly one of the form players within the Scotland squad right now, stringing together relentless results as a leader on and off the pitch with Celtic. He drew particular praise from Kenny Dalglish today, too, who suggested the Scotland teammates will feel honoured to feature alongside him.

Jack hasn’t been much involved against Celtic of late anyway. He hasn’t started any of the derby matches this season, only appearing as a substitute in each. McGregor meanwhile has helped Celtic to a big league win, a cup final victory and a valuable draw at Ibrox as club captain. It’s not much of a personal rivalry at this point – the Bhoys star is streets ahead.

Even if it was heated, McGregor has too much professionalism to let personal issues get in the way of sporting success. He absolutely loves playing for club and country. He’s more than capable of working with Jack and then getting back to the business of beating him on the pitch in upcoming fixtures with no drama involved.

In other news, Hibs boss calls for refereeing overhaul after Celtic Park drama.