Key Celtic man recognised for Aberdeen showing on landmark appearance

By Euan Davidson

November 30, 2021

Callum McGregor, Celtic captain, has been recognised by WhoScored? [via Sky Sports] for his efforts against Aberdeen at the weekend, his 350th appearance in the Hoops.

The statisticians rated McGregor’s performance an 8.33, good enough for the third best rating of the weekend’s fixtures [Sky Sports].

With a lovely assist for Jota, and a fortuitous winner that cannoned off his back, McGregor was pivotal in a hard-fought win over the Dons.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The statisticians were also quick to point out his pass accuracy on the day, in a more advanced role. Drifting into spaces on the left, McGregor worked well with Jota, creating opportunities aplenty.

Annoyingly, one of the players we’ll come up against on Thursday was ranked first. Hearts full-back Stephen Kingsley was given a rating of 9.16 for his heroics against St Mirren.

On McGregor, WhoScored? said [Sky Sports]:

“The Scotland international scored his first goal and provided his first assist of the season in the narrow victory, those coming from respective returns of six shots and two key passes.

“McGregor excelled in possession, too, having found a teammate with 94.9 per cent of his 59 passes at Celtic Park.”

Not to question the statisticians, but we had to question whether, right enough, that was McGregor’s first league assist. Somehow, it was [Transfermarkt], with his other set-up coming in the Europa League.

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Callum McGregor is just getting better with time for Celtic

How quickly time goes. Callum McGregor only made his debut in 2014 [Celtic FC], now he’s on 350 appearances. Weirdly, it’s entirely believable given how regularly he plays for Celtic, but it’ll still make you feel old.

Undoubtedly, this is his biggest season yet. It was inevitable he’d get the armband, and his performances have shown he’s a “lead by example” type. So far this season, he’s been excellent.

Even though he’s had to adjust to two very different roles in the midfield. As a number 6, he can control the tempo, and to devastating effect. Shuttling through the middle, he can be the first pass Joe Hart makes, or the focus of attacks.

Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

In a more advanced role, the type he played when Scott Brown was in the team, he can flourish creatively. We saw that against Aberdeen at the weekend. Longer-term though, his future might be in a deeper role, something which absolutely suits him.

Either way, McGregor is a fantastic contributor to this Celtic team. Ange Postecoglou builds around him, and it’s no mystery as to why. When he had a rare spell on the sidelines earlier this season, his absence was extremely notable.

Here’s to 350 more?

Read more: “We got dominated”; SPFL boss’ frank admission on Ange Postecoglou and Celtic