Steve Clarke's blunder as Scotland labour without Celtic man Callum McGregor
So, earlier we said Celtic captain Callum McGregor being rested for Scotland against the Faroe Islands was a good thing.
That was predicated on a couple of variables. 1. That Scotland would easily beat a team ranked lower than North Korea [FIFA]. 2. That the Scotland midfield would purr along without him.
As it turned out, Scotland really badly needed McGregor. The midfield of McTominay, McGinn and Gilmour struggled to break down the Faroe Islands. Just days after a symbolic win over Israel, the Tartan Army were treated to some one-dimensional dross on a grim pitch.
In something of a rare occasion anyway, with no Celtic or Rangers players picked to start for Scotland, the Bhoys captain’s absence was noted. Emphatically so.
Fine, last season wasn’t his best, but his performances at Euro 2020 for Scotland, and his impact for Celtic this season have both been richly enjoyed.
When he did come on, in the 68th minute, Scotland looked far more dangerous. He was able to free up Billy Gilmour for some key opportunities, but the Tartan Army were left bereft.
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It was the Faroe Islands, after all.
Thankfully though, a (dubious) goal came after McGregor’s introduction to the game. Lyndon Dykes found the net to spare Clarke’s blushes, but his starting line-up will remain under question despite the narrow win.
Fans react to Scotland starting without Celtic skipper Callum McGregor
From before kick-off and throughout the game, the reaction was passionate to say the least. Online, fans of Celtic and Scotland alike, or indeed both, were vocal about the missing midfielder.
In what should’ve been a comfortable win for Scotland, social media response was rapid:
Scotland really struggled without McGregor. Though they were able to just about get themselves over the line, the Tartan Army are clear about who’s in the ideal Scotland midfield.
A lesson learned, perhaps.