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. the truth Scotland are shite that’s the truth a shitty manager only makes it glaring

  2. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    McCann the expert exonerating the manager and blaming the midfield. This guy should try the management game himself…..

  3. Neustadt-Braw on

    UK military has activated team in a nuclear bunker under the @DefenceHQ main building to step up preparations for a no-deal Brexit….



    hiv Mc Gills got this on the side of their double deckers running up the Clyde?



    smiley tick tock goes the Unionist Lab/Tory clock thing



    Saor Alba




  4. I listened to Big Ecks pre-match mumbling interview saying that we have to be on our toes against these “smaller”and “lesser”countries.


    What a bumptious fool. Kazakhstan has three times the population of Scotland and a much larger land mass plus its probably much wealthier.


    OK they lower ranked at football but the guy is embarrassing.

  5. NB…whit’s a McGills….don’t you know that B Soutar has pretty much obliterated the competition…deregulation of services means monopoly ;-(( bastard

  6. spikeysauldman on




    Mcgills ??????? the blue white and orange buses owned by the easedales – tons of them in glasgow ;-(

  7. spikeysauldman on

    anyone think the score tonight was any more of a riddy than our loss to Lincoln Red Imps ? the worst result in Celtic’s history (well since i was born anyway)

  8. Neustadt-Braw on

    hahahahhaha wonderful….



    smiley I blame the schools thing




    Saor Alba






    ps start stocking up on your basics ….

  9. we meaning we scots, should not enter any competitions until we get root and branch changes in the sfa ,feckin utter shambles.hh.

  10. I have ABSOLUTELY no interest in a corrupt football association national team



    I hope all Celtic players I need this set up, come home tomorrow, to prepare for a game involving Celtic, a club who pay wages and tax in the correct manner and spirit of an honest game




  11. Spikey…that’s what I get for relying on Scotrail….even tho they’re unreliable and u pay to be sardined…



    Jamesgang…I’ve made my thoughts known on EBT McLeish….

  12. Who was the last Celtic player to see his transfer value rise, or earn himself a big money transfer as a result of performances for the National Team ? I don’t know.


    Playing for a crap national team won’t affect the value of a player. And if it lessens the chances of them being the target of cash rich English clubs, I don’t have any problem with that.

  13. Brexit Analogy



    Two guys in a pub, one says to the other ” This is crap lets leave”



    They go to another pub, its crap as well but the first place they went to wont let them back in when they go back.



    They end up in a kebab shop at 2AM arguing about who’s fault it is.




  14. MiT


    I agree re Dundee`s response to the flag incident.( See BSR`s 7:59 post)






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



    I know what you mean ( and agree) but I would say that he is like an unsure schoolboy version of the pretentious Nevin.







    You’re right, of course. I was meaning that they both (I think) were Celtic supporters. Now, they do their utmost to undermine us at every opportunity.

  16. Celtic should insist on Calmac’s return and demand an explanation, from the sfa, about mcfadden’s conduct and treatment of Celtic’s play

  17. glendalystonsils on

    Nevin is more intelligent than McFadden . He is also more sleekit , thereby rendering his intelligence unimportant.



    In more important news , KT is on his way home from Eck’s travelling circus . Celtic should have kept him here for treatment

  18. ROBINBHOY on 21ST MARCH 2019 8:14 PM


    Brexit Analogy




    Two guys in a pub, one says to the other ” This is crap lets leave”




    They go to another pub, its crap as well but the first place they went to wont let them back in when they go back.




    They end up in a kebab shop at 2AM arguing about who’s fault it is.










    Except that in your story at least there was the prospect of a kebab!



    HH jg

  19. Neustadt-Braw on

    Alex Ferguson wid come closest….cos we all dae wit the boss says …



    smiley good question thing




    Saor Alba





  20. 40 minutes of watching Belgium – Russia merely confirms that both teams are light years ahead of us. The beatings will continue for the foreseeable future.

  21. I’m a bit old for that job,If you had asked that question about 60 years ago I ‘d have jumped at it, I’.ve been thinking re the previous Scotland Managers. and can’t think of any. but there again I try to forget who the present Manager is.