Postecoglou heaps praise on Celtic captain McGregor after vintage display

By Euan Davidson

October 20, 2021

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou was delighted with his skipper Callum McGregor after a truly vintage European display from the Academy graduate.

McGregor, despite missing a penalty, was phenomenal. In a deeper playmaking role in midfield, he was able to dictate the tempo of the game. He was steadfast in turning defensive situations into counter attacks, got shots away and won the ball repeatedly to give Celtic possession.

According to Fotmob, he played 107 passes. 104 were accurate. On a stage like the Europa League, that’s genuinely world class. But also, is it much of a surprise seeing the captain dominate a game like he did?

Postecoglou, who gave McGregor the Celtic captaincy this summer, was delighted with his skipper’s impact.

The jubilant Bhoys manager said of his captain [BT Sport]:

“Penalty misses will happen but he was again outstanding. He is such an important player for us as he really controls the tempo for us.

“I think he is a leader in action and words. And there was never any doubt in my mind that he would just pick up and get the team going again.

“He contributed to the second goal with his press and it was another great performance.”

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Celtic boss Postecoglou is right to build team around McGregor

When Callum McGregor signed a new contract a few weeks back, there was talk of his career as a whole.

Since making his breakthrough under Ronny Deila, McGregor has been a mainstay in midfield, and has never really looked back. Under Rodgers, he began to fulfil his enormous potential, become a key cog in the Celtic midfield.

Now, at 28, he’s even better. The departure of friend and teammate Scott Brown might’ve taken getting used to, but it’s freed McGregor to a huge extent, tactically.

Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

What he does with the ball is sublime. But he might be even more important off it. His movement and leadership sets a real tone for his teammates, and his aggressiveness in getting up the pitch sent a message to the defence.

It’s no wonder then, when he signed that deal, that pundits and fans were asking again whether he could do it for a Premier League or European team. Well, of course he could.

On the big stages, for both Celtic and Scotland, McGregor has shown he’s one of the best players to come out of the Hoops in a generation. For him to be giving us his peak years is an enormous attribute to the team going forward.

Last night was just another example. Postecoglou is entirely right to build his Celtic team around a player like Callum McGregor.

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