"Elite" Callum McGregor is setting the standard for Celtic at Lennoxtown

By Euan Davidson

June 30, 2021

Former Celtic player Mark Fotheringham has backed “elite” midfielder Callum McGregor to lead the club by example next season.

Fotheringham, who has been making waves in Europe as a coach, compared McGregor to Paul McStay. It isn’t the first time in recent weeks that’s happened. Former Celtic captain Paul Lambert did the same on the 25th of June, while new boss Ange Postecoglou branded him “outstanding”.

Fotheringham, who recenty left German club Ingolstadt after a successful spell as assistant manager, told the Sun:

“Callum is a modern-day Paul McStay. For me he’s Celtic’s new Maestro.

“If you’re a young player coming through in Scotland, then I don’t think there’s a better player to look up to, and to model yourself on, than Callum.

“He’s a total role model. He’s a Rolls-Royce player who plays week in and week out.

“He never misses training and every week he is available for the manager.

“Callum is an elite player, utterly dedicated to being the best he can be.”

Callum McGregor: he’s like me and you…

Fotheringham continued [Sun]:

“Sometimes he’s not aggressive enough, or throwing himself into tackles, but that’s not Callum as a player. He is still harrying and getting himself into positions to intercept passes.

“He’s an intelligent player too. Statistically, he’s one of the elite players in Europe.

“So Callum has to be Celtic’s next captain. People talk about how captains have to be like Roy Keane or Patrick Vieira, full of fire and aggression.

“But, as much as I admire players like that, I don’t agree.

“Callum leads by example in terms of how he plays and the standards he sets in training.”

Callum McGregor: the next Maestro? / (Credit – Celtic FC)

Praise indeed for next Celtic captain

There’s lofty praise for a Celtic player, then there’s being consistently compared to Paul McStay. As news goes, it can’t be bad for Callum McGregor to hear.

And it’s more than welcome. After a difficult season, where few Bhoys impressed, McGregor was pivotal to what Scotland did well at Euro 2020. Granted, Steve Clarke’s side exited at the group stage after a 23 year absence from a major tournament. However, against England and Croatia, McGregor can count himself unlucky not to have picked up at least 3 points by himself.

So central to what Celtic do, the Academy graduate is, indeed, going to be a different style of captain. For a generation of new Hoops supporters, it’ll be incongruous to see us being led by someone with a different leadership style. McGregor, by all appearances, isn’t a firebrand or a bawler a la Scott Brown, but he is someone who has huge influence in the dressing room, and will aim to set the standard for his teammates.

Fotheringham, meanwhile, sounds like he’d be keen on coaching McGregor. With the plaudits coming his way after successful stints in Germany, the former Youngest Ever Celt has had a fruitful coaching education. Ange Postecoglou is still building his backroom team, and it’s not impossible to imagine he’s heard of the ex-Hoops and Dundee midfielder’s exploits.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. For now, something rare over recent months; excitement. Callum McGregor has all the ability to cement his place as a fan favourite, and with added responsibilities, become a legend in his own right.

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