Callum McGregor will be vital as Celtic ready raft of new players

By Euan Davidson

September 10, 2021

Realistically, Callum McGregor could captain 4 new Celtic first-team players tomorrow against Ross County.

With the international break over, deadline-day signings such as Giakoumakis, Jota, Carter-Vickers and Liam Scales could all see action tomorrow. While we await injury updates from Ange Postecoglou, there’s a genuine chance all 4 could be called upon.

After a busy run of games, with another to follow, squad depth and integrating new players is going to be quite the challenge. Yet, the signs are good with Callum McGregor wearing the armband.

A key responsibility of McGregor’s is leading the dressing room. Making the new guys feel welcome and part of a cause, while managing the motivation of longer tenured Celts. It’s no small challenge.

However, the evidence so far suggests that McGregor is more than adept. Carl Starfelt has had an admittedly more difficult start, but Joe Hart, Kyogo Furuhashi, Liel Abada and Josip Juranovic have all impressed, with different volumes of minutes.

That’s down to their hard work of course, but the importance of a captain is to make sure every player’s involved, focused and not daunted by the big crowds and occasions.

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So far, it seems as if McGregor is doing a fine job in that regard. Just as Scott Brown did before him, the captain is playing a key role in bring new guys seamlessly into Postecoglou’s tactical set-up.

Callum McGregor role in Celtic cohesion cannot be underplayed

Everything McGregor has said about integrating players into the Celtic culture has been promising. In a July press conference, he spoke at length about the importance of stressing the work ethic at the club, and making new players feel welcome [Go Radio].

That isn’t just lip service, either. Joe Hart spoke about the impact of McGregor on his great start to life at Celtic, saying [Celtic TV]:

“Callum’s been great. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been in this situation or how many teams you’ve gone into. It’s always quite daunting meeting your teammates.

“He was a class act to be honest. He made me feel at ease straight away. He’s obviously worked really hard for the previous captain, he’s taken over and you can see he’s got the respect of the lads and he’s certainly got my respect and I look forward to working for him.”

Photo by Soccrates/Getty Images

That stuff matters off the park. We’re sure the Celtic captain has been doing his bit in training to make sure the late summer arrivals know all about the club, the supporters, and what their arrival means.

On the park, tomorrow could be the biggest test of his leadership yet. In front of a sell-out crowd against Ross County – a bogey team in 20-21 – fans will have high expectations of the newest compliment of signings. Provided they feature, eyes will be on them.

But they have an excellent captain to guide them through that.

Seeing the Celtic Academy graduate blossom into a leader has been a wonderful sight for fans. Tomorrow, with the likelihood of multiple debutants getting onto the turf at Paradise, it’ll be incumbent on McGregor to lead the new Bhoys.

It’s nothing he can’t handle.

In other news: Former Barca man Bartra picks out Celtic as highlight of Europa League group