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 administrators of the game in Scotland are not fit for purpose.



    Scotland will continue to be humbled by teams way below us in current rankings until the Blazers are rooted out.



    I just want all the Celts to get back injury free.



    Dumbarton has a massive Tricolour flying high in its Town Centre. ;))



    Celtic are so close to winning an unprecedented (surely) Treble Treble – This would be Truly remarkable.



    Celtic, Celtic

  2. As long as the sfa continue with their “jobs for the boys” employment policy, we will continue to be a fourth rate footballing nation.


    McLeish has the talent for bringing out the worst of every player in the Scotland team.

  3. OT at 9 couldn’t do worse than the embarrassing debacle…aye I’ve chopped a few years off for effect D ;-))




    I wish it was true what you just posted.



    Have to have a few drinks with you someday,I’m struggling to get through to Glasgow at present,but we’ll have a wee drams some day.

  5. Yes Scott McKenna had a poor game. Who did not ?



    Based on that one performance I don’t think many teams would be chasing any player in that team.



    I believe Scott McKenna would be a good signing for us. I have watched him since we were first linked with him and can see by a poor individual and dreadful team performance.



    Blame the management team. Clueless.




  6. OT sounds like a plan….and I’ll no stand ye up like someone I could mention…say when ;-))




  7. “No footballer has ever left a greater legacy than Big Ebt.



    When it comes to modern football, its tactics, its shapes and its systems, everyone is reading from his great textbook.



    As a player, he was a revolutionary, reinventing the role of the defender with his adaptability and fluid movement.



    Barry Ferguson maybe the greatest footballer ever, but he owes much to the world’s first true/ false players with side letters who would’ve played for his team fur nuthin’, but ta fur the dosh.



    So when it comes to tactics, there is still no greater authority on the beautiful game.



    If you still need convincing, take a look at the lecture he delivered during a Dutch TV show a few years back.



    Ebt is asked to explain the diamond formation the Birmingham team were currently deploying, and goes on to discuss many of the key issues that teams like Scotland wrestle with.



    In particular, how to get the right balance between attack and defence in the dominant 4-2-3-1 shape, also helping to explain why Scotland struggled for width and control of the midfield in their popular diamond.



    His brilliant insight explains how Scotland might be able to get better use of their wide men, how they can keep the diamond but not become too predictable.



    “The Kazaks were first to the second balls”.

  8. was there not some talk of Michael o neil as Scottish manager a while ago, the 2 ludges orange and masonic would have been in meltdown,hh.

  9. OldTim67



    Or you could send me a txt D…called you umpteen times at Crimbo n New Year…you could’ve answered…even if it was jist to tell me to f*ck off ;-))







    I’ve had problems with my Mobile Phone,I’m stuggling to work it, I made a big mistake with getting a Samsung phone it’s far to complicated for an old B like me,I’ll have to get a cheap ordinary mobile, Haven’t you got my land line number,if not,I’ll give you it next time I meet you.


    Your not the only one that has said I should answer my phone, I had a few problems when someone got into my Bank account,and took a fair bit of money from my account.

  11. OLDTIM67 on 21ST MARCH 2019 8:24 PM



    Has there ever been an RC manager of Scotland.



    *Sir Matt Busby had the dual role of Manure and Scotland gig only for Munich tae end that.



    Big Jock took over on a temporary basis in the middle of WC qualifications when former deidco caption ian mccoll bailed out and went tae Sunderland.



    Malky MacDonald who had briefly coached the national side for war time internationals was caretaker after another former hun john prentice who had replaced Jock also bailed out after only 6 months tae manage the hun side in Dundee.



    Malky was then replaced by another hun former goalie bobby brown.

  12. Jesus Grist D…you reported it to the polis and the bank..and changed all yer passwords I hope…and claimed anything back through the bank & criminal injuries compensation? If not…why not…and yep I called both moby and landline…but that’s by the by…am pissed off at your revelations







    Forgot about Malkie Mtcdonald, and Busby,but I always thought that big Jock was a Protestant, just shows how dumb I am, thanks for the info, I probably knew, but Age is catching up with me.



    My memory is vanishing very fast over the last few months.

  14. OldTim67…mind that time I lent you…too soon…hee haw wrong with yer memory…Big Jock was a protestant ….till he seen the light ;-))




  15. BAMBOO on 21ST MARCH 2019 9:50 PM



    TONTINE TIM Tommy Docherty?



    *Tommy had already been mentioned, when he came along he dumped the hun old guard and brought in young players like Alec Cropley, Kenny and skip tae ma lou. Unfortunately when he took the manure job he tapped Lou and he was the first of the Quality Street gang tae move on.




    I did report it to the bank,and did get my money back into my account, It was very depressing for me for a couple of months, the bank has closed my online account until I get my computer fixed.



    I have to go to the bank every couple of weeks to check my account, probably the right way for me to handle my money now, but it was very depressing that I was conned so easily, as I say I got my money back,but still suffer from depression for being so stupid.

  17. Oldtim67,



    Definitely not stupid…naive mibbe…upshot is you got it back…no doubt after jumping through hoops…no pun intended, if in doubt about yer finances…speak to a professional…but if you do, check them out thoroughly before trusting them…it makes sense ;-))




  18. How come Davy Murray got wee Nacho a #####hole of a pub ( he’s already on cash-on-delivery with the brewers ) and big Eck got the £600k a year national team manager job?



    I honestly CGAFF about the SFA X1 but this is Scotland’s national sport and Murray and his cheatin’ legacy is STILL hanging over the whole country.



    Fair enough we can say ‘ hell mend them ‘ but is it right that 800 Scotland fans spend maybe £3k each to travel to a game and their manager is totally clueless re modern football and football players?



    Course it’s not.



    The outstanding candidate was Michael O’Neill….apparently the SFA offered him £300k less than his current salary– in other words they never wanted him to accept.



    Anyway here we go 8 ‘n a row

  19. What is the Stars on



    Dont beat yourself over being conned.


    Its happened to plenty..


    Many of them much younger and more tech savvy than yourself

  20. Must hand it to the Brits they are good at signing petitions, every half hour or so another 100,000 sign up


    1.9 million now. Could be 2 million by 10.50 at this rate,




    I know that it’s happened to plenty others,but to get conned by someone through a phone call really did hurt,still depressed but getting better by the day,hope to see you again, maybe the B/V sometime.

  22. Ah Wits you are taking the piss. It’s to revoke Article 50 and stay in the EU. You cant have gone through the day and not heard about it.

  23. Old Tim at 9:57


    One of my most abiding memories of Lisbon 2017 was seeing your name on the back of your hoops strip and telling my daughter “There’s Old Tim…The Old Tim”. You were sitting outside our hotel having a beer and a quiet moment to yourself. It looked such a quiet moment that I didn’t want to interrupt your reverie. ( I was also a bit in awe). In that moment I could never consider you as ever having a depressing moment. I hope you never have another depressing moment in your life because you give us mere mortals such pleasure hearing about your Celtic tales post Charlie Tully’s two corners against Falkirk which you narrate brilliantly. Remember wee Griff’s mantra…it’s ok not to be ok, and you, D, will always be a wonderful human being and much more than ok to me.

  24. Fekin spoilers…a was gonna tell WITS it was for me…looking for sponsorship to get into the Steroid Olympics…;-))




  25. Old Tim cheer up, I hate to hear of unhappy people. We will beat them at the end of the month.

  26. Scaniel, Amen to that. Lucky enough to meet Old Tim a few times, an absolute legend of a man and generous to a fault.