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Callum McGregor, football stats and professional arrogance

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Callum McGregor burst onto the scene on his Celtic debut with the only goal in a Champions League qualifier in Iceland.  More goals followed before that campaign against Legia Warsaw and Maribor, but his early promise as a right-winger faded.

It was Ronnie Deila who introduced him to the first team but he did not flourish into the MVP he now is until the arrival of Brendan Rodgers.  Callum was an invincible treble winner but Scotland manager, Gordon Strachan, declined to give him a cap.

Strachan resigned in October 2017 and caretaker Malky Mackay used a friendly game against Netherlands the following month to give international debuts to Callum and Ryan Christie.  Just over a year later, he is set to captain his country for the first time.

By any measure, Gordon Strachan is a successful manager, better, for sure, than Malky Mackay, but for a year Gordon resisted what seemed obvious to the rest of Scottish football, including Malky – Callum McGregor was one of the finest Scottish footballers around.

There is a professional arrogance in most businesses (certainly in mine).  It goes something like “I do this for a living so know what I’m talking about, you’ve never done this, so don’t.”  Try speaking to ANYONE involved in the football business and you will hear a version of this, politely delivered or otherwise.

For the most part in football, this professional arrogance is well founded.  Those who have not played the game in decades, or at any significant level, or even worked in the administration of the game, have insufficient knowledge about any task to tell someone who has massively achieved at every level as player and manager for 40 years where they are going wrong.

But still, you, me and Malky MacKay knew what Gordon Strachan didn’t.  The problem with football is that there is no clear way to measure player performances across clubs, tactics, leagues and managerial instructions.

The game’s latest arms race is in interpreting the stats now gathered on practically every top tier match in the world.  As Callum McGregor has shown, there is a long way to go before objectivity tops subjective ‘wisdom’.

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  1. Asupporterwhogotlucky on

    On yonder hill, there stood a dookit

     

    It’s noa there noo, coz someone took it !!

     

     

    HH

  2. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on

    Don’t have another “People’s Vote” – look what they did the last time !!!

  3. Ernie…the point is that the english have the mandate…and the rest of us who have a different cultural identity and dissimilar views can gtf

  4. We may not have worked in the football industry but most of us have watched thousands of games.

     

     

    I wouldn’t have a clue about manufacturing chips at Intel or whatever but I don’t think my opinions are invalid about football due to the time I’ve spent watching it.

  5. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    “It was Ronnie Deila who introduced him to the first team but he did not flourish into the MVP he now is until the arrival of Brendan Rodgers. ”

     

    ———–

     

    Maybe not the player he is now, Paul, but Callum showed a lot of promise in the second half of Ronny’s second season when he played more centrally.

     

    Strachan should have had him in the team in the 16-17 season. If he had he might still be in the job. Always had a bit of stubbornness about him though.

     

    Well done Callum. Well deserved honour.

  6. TheLurkinTim on 21st March 2019 12:55 pm

     

     

     

    ‘Ernie…the point is that the english have the mandate…and the rest of us who have a different cultural identity and dissimilar views can gtf’

     

     

     

    *****

     

     

     

    ‘ a different cultural identity’

     

     

    Jesus wept.

  7. So Lorraine Kelly wasn’t employed by ITV but acted a part of Lorraine Kelly. So she doesn’t need to pay NI or income tax.. Let’s all try that at our work.

  8. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Etims linking us with Benitez. I’m not sure if Benitez himself would be a perfect fit in terms of profile, but certainly someone of that stature would send out a real statement of intent. Excellent record in Europe. Interesting….

  9. Petethebeat

     

    I could look at a star thousands of times and never have a clue how fara way it is.I could guess based on my observation. Someone who `works` in that area, would be able to do far better than guess.

     

    I would say opinions without information are invalid .

     

     

    JJ

  10. I call bullsh*t on this passage:

     

     

    “Those who have not played the game in decades, or at any significant level, or even worked in the administration of the game, have insufficient knowledge about any task to tell someone who has massively achieved at every level as player and manager for 40 years where they are going wrong.”

     

     

    Am pretty sure that those outwith the game can have valuable insights…based on their innate intelligence and experience…can improve any aspect of a football business…

     

     

    ps…sound like a PL cease and desist statement

  11. Ernie…am sure he did…if he existed ;-)) or is identifying as being Scottish a joke to you…

  12. TheLurkinTim on 21st March 2019 1:21 pm

     

    Ernie…am sure he did…if he existed ;-)) or is identifying as being Scottish a joke to you…

     

    ############

     

     

     

    And do you have the same ‘cultural identity’ as the Scottish people who voted leave?

     

     

    Or indeed the same ‘cultural identity’ as Sturgeon who joined the SNP when it was party policy to leave the EU?

  13. Ernie…my identity as Scottish is not predicated on anything political or religious…

  14. i heard MON telling a tale similar of speaking with his Brother at Celtic Park after a game when he volunteered an opinion and Martin snapped at him that he didn’t have the knowledge to comment on football matters as he wasn’t “in the game”

     

     

    Now I was never a professional player but played 20 old seasons as an amateur and 10 years plus as a coach including many coaching courses for “Badges” but no Pro courses.

     

     

    I have watched over 1000 Celtic games and while not having coached or played at this level then I am entitled to my opinion. I have often discussed football with ex pro players and coaches and whilst their insight is very valuable and interesting, it often appears to be much more effective than non players.

     

     

    Outsiders can often see things that insiders miss

  15. mike in toronto on

    What football clubs did PL run before he became controller in 90? So, what qualified him to be controller of a football club, as opposed to, say, a bakery?

     

     

    Conversely, Henrik Larsson was a magnificent footballer, but so far hasn’t shone as a manager. Nor would his experience necessarily qualify him to be our CEO.

     

     

    Conversely, Mourinho was a middling player at best, but became the best manager in the world.

     

     

    So, what exactly does qualify one to speak?

     

     

    It seems like this ‘you cant speak if you didn’t play’ bit is just an old saw that is used selectively by those on the inside to try to keep others out.

  16. Paul67 et al

     

     

    Theory might have some validity if we were talking about landing a rover on Mars or even on the Moon, but given that we are talking about football, a game an average two year old has a good grasp of, then perhaps it tells us more about your credulity Paul than it says about the rest of us.

  17. C’mon Scotland…is my patriotism….despite my hatred of all things SFA ;-))

     

     

    ‘GG…good to see you posting…you are in my thoughts….YNWA

  18. For the same reasons as the late great Tony Benn would have if had lived long enough.

     

     

    And which corbyn spent his whole backbench career preaching.

     

     

    Juncker,tusk and Barnier I did not vote for or able to remove.

     

     

    The European union re-elected juncker unopposed!, that alone should make you vote leave.

     

     

    Greece bankrupt.

     

    Spain mass unemployment.

     

    Italy a basket case economy.

     

    Germany in recession.

     

     

    I voted’ for independence I accept the result and move on.

     

    I voted leave and expect other democrats to do the same and accept the UK wide refer

     

    dum result.

  19. sean thornton on 21st March 2019 2:50 pm

     

     

    ‘I voted’ for independence I accept the result and move on.’

     

     

    ####

     

     

    When you say you’ve moved on, does that mean you won’t vote for a party that supports independence and won’t vote yes in a second referendum?

  20. Ernie…you know fine well any future Independence vote wont be a 2nd one…but a new one based on the new realities post Brexit

  21. Ernie.

     

     

    The referendum result was lost.

     

    If we had voted in favour, I would have voted for a party i have supported for all my adult life!, Labour.

  22. Ball over the top n behind the defence…Kazak player took it down brilliantly…and buried it…1-0

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