Eddie Howe may have to bring in his own captain at Celtic

By John McGinley

May 3, 2021

Callum McGregor is seen by many as a future Celtic captain.

It’s been talked about plenty over the last couple of years as Scott Brown’s incredible Bhoys career wound down. Now that it’s been confirmed that Brown is off to Aberdeen, the chatter has only increased.

However, the way he lost his head at Ibrox yesterday has raised new question marks about his suitability for the role.

His sending off was a moment of madness. Already on a yellow card he lunged in to a needless tackle despite having the time and space to think about his options.

That happens of course. We can’t crucify players for every mistake they make. However, the lack of composure was apparent. It doesn’t immediately disqualify McGregor from being our captain.

But does he have the leadership qualities required? Can he carry the burden of being captain while performing at his best?

I have no doubts about McGregor’s ability when he is fit and used properly. Yes, he’s not had his best season in a Celtic shirt, but who has this year? I’m expecting his form to improve as much as anyone else in the squad.

There’s a chance though that this is a job simply too big for a boyhood Celtic fan that will feel every inch of the pressure it entails. He’d be at the centre of the upcoming rebuild. His career could live or die based on what happens over the next couple of years. That may be an unfair cross to bear.

Bringing in an outsider to be our new captain could be a more appealing option for presumed incoming manager Eddie Howe, Celtic and indeed McGregor.

If Howe can find the right player, one he’s worked with before, to come in and lead this group through the fire of next season, it could work.

He could be the conduit between the new boss and the existing players at the club. He could raise standards on the training pitch and in matches, knowing what Howe expects having worked with him previously. That communication link could be vital.

Is Callum McGregor the next Celtic captain? / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

There would be issues to address of course. The perception of bringing in an outside captain may not be to the squad’s liking. It may raise eyebrows with supporters too.

However, as we consider a future at Celtic without automatically falling back on sentimentality and what should happen, we have to think about what needs to happen.

If McGregor not being captain makes him a better Celtic player, I’m all for passing him over and letting Howe find his own man in the camp.

In other news, Kevin Phillips reckons Charlie Wyke would love a move to Celtic.