Callum McGregor, football stats and professional arrogance


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. Go tell the Spartim on

    The only interest i have with the Scottish national team is that our players return with no knocks or injuries.



    If there is anyone advocating we sign Scott McKenna, then please seek help, i wouldnt insult carthorses with a comparison.

  2. I am delighted scotland are getting pumped.






    Canny wait to hear what the shambling hun has to say.



    No injuries to our Bhoys and I’ll be happier.

  3. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Never took long for sacked managerial EBT geniuses McCann and Dodds,to get back into the SMSM…

  4. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Not to worry. At least Scotland know they have the best manager for the job. Otherwise he wouldn’t have got the job, surely?


    How bad would it be if they had the most useless administrator in the world and he had appointed his pal who couldn’t get a job with even the diddiest teams in the diddiest leagues!

  5. The Sky commentator has done nothing all game but slag scotland players.



    Nothin’ else.



    All game.



    Same as Provan!



    Are they not suppose to tell you what is happening in the game?



    Even if they are shite.

  6. Good evening CQN from the Garngad



    Naeluck Mctaxcheat



    My only hope is that our bhoys have no injurys



    D. :)

  7. Big Eck , what a guy !



    I’d like to know who was considered for the post of Scotland manager and the criteria used to select big Eck .

  8. I stopped supporting scotland years ago.



    I was at Hampden, I think it was against Sweden, when scotland brought on Ronnie Glavin (CELTIC) who was roundly booed by every “supporter ” round about me.



    I made my mind up right there and then.



    Fuck them.

  9. ‘Hapless Scotland suffered one of the most abject defeats in their history in their opening Euro 2020 qualifier against world-ranked 117 Kazakhstan.’

  10. “Thank f#ck I decided to free climb El Capitan….It’s better than watchin Scotland’s slow death into irrelevance” Alex Honnold







  11. !!Bada Bing!! on

    McLeish ‘ after a good start….’,were 2 down in 10minutes ffs,sack the useless ….

  12. What a complete incoherent tit!



    I give you…………………. the scotland manager!!!!




  13. Bada…the good start…started n ended at the group draw…



    Enuff of Celtic players trying to keep this dinosaur in a job

  14. No matter the result of the San Marino game, McLeish must resign or be sacked. He’s embarrassing all Scotland, but then again he doesn’t get embarrassed – he took the job in the first place!

  15. The mcleash interview gets worse second time around.



    But big ek says it’s no his fait!

  16. !!Bada Bing!! on

    The Lurkin Tim- i have no time for international football, but surely they can get someone better than that halfwit in? After walking out, he should never have been asked back.HH

  17. !!Bada Bing!! on

    James McFadden reportedly involved in ‘scuffle’ with Celtic star after Scotland defeat



    From The Hun…

  18. ffs living down here in englandshire ive now stopped being embarrassed, they can make fun of me all they like we are feckin shite,hh,

  19. !!Bada Bing!! on

    SCOTS SCRAP Celtic’s Callum McGregor and James McFadden in ‘scuffle’ after Scotland loss


    BBC duo Liam McLeod and Richard Gordon claimed the Scotland duo clashed in the wake of the embarrassing defeat to Kazakhstan

  20. BIG PACKY 1



    I would politely ask them to desist.



    If they do not……………tell them you are from GLENBOIG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



    That should shut them up!



    (Hope you are good Big Mhan)

  21. mike in toronto on

    I am no fan of the scottish national team, but this cannot be good for Celtic. Four starters are Celtic players. This cannot be good for their confidence or their sell-on value. Several more are ex Celts… again, reflects badly on future sell-on values.



    More to the point, there is a real problem with Scottish football …. as I have said before, there is more skill and technique, as well as tactical nous, in the fledgiling MLS.



    Why is this Celtic’s problem? Because we have to have so many home-grown players in the team. If players dont learn how to play when they are younger, it is too late by the time they get to Celtic/the first team.

  22. I hope Calum didny damage McFaddens wig!



    Withdraw immediately Calum, you know it makes sense.

  23. Can anyone name one player, from the Scottish squad, who could have scored the first Kazakh goal? We are simply devoid of that class of goalscoring threat.



    What happened to keeping it tight at the back for 10-15 minutes in away games, and feeling your way into the game? Shocking naivety and ineptitude from Scotland.



    Can anyone explain why James Forrest, when presented with his only chance, was so tentative?


    Defies belief, when just last month he injured himself by throwing himself at the ball to score. Just inexplicable. Or maybe that’s the reason?



    Cyprus 4-0 up on San Marino in 30 minutes. They will beat us comfortably. We will do well not to finish second bottom of this group. Regardless, we will plummet further in World rankings, making qualification for major tournaments virtually impossible. Maybe just as well.