Former Celtic players debate Callum McGregor and captaincy, Petrov name-checks Jackie McNamara
Since Scott Brown announced he was leaving Celtic, a leadership void has emerged.
Well, to a degree. It’s widely understood that Callum McGregor will be taking the armband full-time. However, after years of Broony’s fiery, demanding leadership, it’s what we’re used to. Perhaps, the idea of a quieter, “leading by example” type of dressing room leader feels like a gamble.
So, obviously, it’s become a point of debate. There was excellent discussion on the Celtic Huddle Podcast, as Mark Wilson, Simon Donnelly and guest Stiliyan Petrov debated the big issues at Celtic Park.
Mark Wilson commented:
“I must say, I love Callum McGregor. I think he’s done a fantastic job, [but] I just think it might be somebody else, somebody new. Whoever the manager is, if they get one of these big signings, it might be somebody new.”
Stiliyan Petrov, however, made an interesting comparison:
“I had so many captains, especially at Celtic. But I had a great captain who reminded me of Callum McGregor, that’s Jackie McNamara.
“He was very calm, always analysed the situation well, he was always there to help and understood the dressing room.”
Consider Petrov was also captained by Neil Lennon and Paul Lambert, it’s an interesting comment to make. Of course, you don’t need to tell us about the qualities of Jackie McNamara. As a player and a person, he’s represented the club with distinction, and continues to do so.
After years of Scott Brown, the more understated Callum McGregor might be the best Celtic pick
It’s strange, because as we’ve discussed before, McGregor seemed like a lock for the captaincy. Yet, without any matches or evidence to dissuade the support, the idea’s being debated more. From being somewhat of a certainty, there’s real debate about who the next captain will be.
There are arguments that can be made for McGregor, of course, but there’s also Christopher Jullien. One of our more experience campaigners, Jullien has been at the club for a fraction of the time McGregor has. But, he’s an older head who plays with his heart on his sleeve.
Kristoffer Ajer is another shout. However, it’s not clear whether he’ll actually be at the club next season. There’s a possibility that having a bigger role in the dressing room might convince him to stay longer-term.
The Scottish contingent, primarily Turnbull, Forrest and Taylor, are also worth considering for their league knowledge and ability to communicate the Celtic story to new players. However, locality alone does not a captain make.
It’ll be an interesting debate for a long time yet.