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. mike in toronto on

    I am no doctor, but listening to McLeish, and the way he speaks, I have long thought there may be something wrong with him ….



    I am not saying this as a joke, or as a jab at the guy … but sometimes he is almost incomprehensible …

  2. MIT



    That has been obvious to me since before he was offered the job.



    |If he is ill he should be nowhere near …………………….you know what I mean.



    Mibbe the SFA have BUPA. Most big company’s do.

  3. INQUIS……………..



    …………….don’t answer a question with a question………………

  4. PHILBHOY, at least that made me chuckle,,all good here ,hope you and yours are well.hh.

  5. Shell shocked and very embarrassed. Don’t remember ever feeling so low following a Scotland game. Just as well it’s a school night….

  6. I’m away out for ma tea!



    Back soon!



    (You’ll be pleased to know)



    Or……mibbe naw.



    C’MON THE CELTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. the long wait is over on

    mike in toronto on 21st March 2019 5:44 pm




    I am no doctor, but listening to McLeish, and the way he speaks, I have long thought there may be something wrong with him ….







    I am not saying this as a joke, or as a jab at the guy … but sometimes he is almost incomprehensible …





    I thought exactly the same thing this morning when I heard him on the radio while driving to work.

  8. BIG PACKY 1



    Wee yin has had a tough time recently due to illness but on mend.



    Not without consequences but health wise looking good!

  9. PHILBHOY @5:49


    I asked several questions in my original post. You replied with a question.



  10. That awkward moment when you get caught ripping down the Tri-Colour



    Dundee FC statement



    The club would advise that the enquiries into the “flag” incident which took place at Sunday’s match vs. Celtic are now concluded.



    These enquiries have revealed a clear breakdown in communication and decision making and moving forward, this needs to be and will be addressed by the club in conjunction with all members of the event management team. Clearly, the method employed to remove the item from the advertising board was not acceptable and out with the agreed procedures for dealing with matters of this nature.



    The clubs and the two supporters involved have met and discussed the issue at great length and Dundee Football Club would wish to convey our sincere thanks for the cooperation of all concerned.



    In the spirit of the discussions which took place at this meeting, Dundee Football Club would wish to place on record our sincere apologies to the two supporters involved in this incident. We will always endeavour in future to strive to achieve a safe and secure environment for everyone here at the Kilmac Stadium at Dens Park.

  11. I don’t think this reflects well on me but whenever McLeish is being interviewed, I reach for the off button immediately. He is simply embarassing. He should never have been put in the position.



    McFadden is another who is an embarassment, He reminds me of Nevin.

  12. mike in toronto on




    Fair play to Dundee for, at least, acknowledging that there was a problem and apologizing … more than most clubs in Scotland would do.

  13. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Saw a comment on another site – McLeish should do the honourable thing and resign.


    Spot the flaw there……..

  14. Hopefully any lingering ideas of our singing McKenna from the sheep will have now disappeared. £10 mill for that Donkey.!!! Imagine if he’d been playing against decent quality strikers.


    Hope Calmac tells McFadden and EBT Eck to GTF.

  15. If ever there was a time time to gut the SFAfrom top to bottom surely it’s now. Same old faces time after time. One from our side to balance out McLeish it’s time to put the best people in place from top to bottom it really can’t get any worse than this years of jobs for the boys and sheer incompetence are coming home to roost combined with no real forward planning it doesn’t get any worse. Let’s see if anyone has the backbone to call them out. In any other line of work that level of incompetence would lead to a sacking.

  16. Declan Rice has apologised after a social media post emerged in which he made an apparent reference to the IRA.



    The England and West Ham midfielder, 20, was an Ireland youth player in 2015 when he wrote ‘#UPTHERA’ on Instagram.



    Rice, who recently earned his first call-up to the England squad, apologised for “any offence caused”by the “poorly expressed comment”.




    “I recognise my attempt to show support for my team-mates at the time could be negatively interpreted,” he said.



    “While my naive words were not meant to be a political opinion and do not represent who I am, I sincerely apologise for any offence caused.”




    What an eejit –



    OglachAlanpartridge CSC

  17. McLeish should do the honourable thing and commit sepuku….that’s right…he has no honour….pre-requisite for taking an SFA appointment

  18. spikeysauldman on

    Short notice – Anyone live in Glasgow want 2 tickets (free) to see Russel Kane at the Kings 7.30 – i’ll drop them off to you at the door.

  19. It’s a Klub………………they know he needs the dough and have klubbed the gither to ensure he’s no’ embarrassed.



    Jobs For The Good Ole Boys.