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. It saddens me that the blog is so quiet after a Scotland game. 



    Not blaming the blog but more of a state off Scotland thing. Easier for me as an ex-pat I don’t see the nasty tabloids. 



    Such a clown in charge, dark side connection or not. 




  2. The selling of data is absolutely criminal IMO.



    OT – It is outrageous that these online crooks are getting away with what they are.



    Bottom line now is put the phone down on anyone who you don’t know.



    I hope this makes you smile!!!!



    Celtic Juve

  3. Scaniel…never meet yer heroes…you’ll only be disappointed…except you shoulda interupted Oldtims reverie…you both woulda been enriched by it ;-))




  4. At 10.16 I surmised that another 100,000 would sign by 10,50 to reach the 2 million, well it’s done with 13 minutes to spare. Must be some kind of record.

  5. TheLurkinTiim at 10:31


    I’m glad I did meet Old Tim, both in Lisbon and the BV, although I’m not sure the feeling was reciprocated due in no small matter to my penchant of keeping in the shadows of those I admire. BlantyreTim (wherefore art thou brother?), however was on hand to facilitate things as he is wont to do. Life enriching all around.



  6. mike in toronto on

    Old Tim



    Don’t beat yourself up. That Peter Lawwell was probably the culprit.



    (Just for WITS)




  7. Corkie…again…parliament only has to consider looking at it…Leader of the House Burscoe (sic)…”have you seen the Article 50 petition…it’s gonna need 30,000,000 more signaturies before we even need to seriously look at it”…TM…ok…”lets get on with trying to salvage what we can from Brexit”







    I wish you had come over and had a bleather, I can’t remember ever being on my own in Lisbon, I was always with Blantyretim, and Pochmahone(sp).



    Lisbon was my best week ever,even better than when I was there in 67. mind back in 67 I went there with five others and none were drinkers, so I was alone when I went into a club, but I wasn’t alone for long, I hadn’t really celebrated Celtic winning the Cup but when I went into this club with my Celtic gear on and was approached by locals too shake my hand, I spoke to the barman and said could I buy a drink for everyone in the club, the Barman was happy to oblige, and I had a rollicking time after that, everone wanted to return the favour and buy me a drink,you could say I can’t remember getting back to my pals late in the night.what a time that was.



    But Lisbon 50 years on was a great week,I take it you were at the evening dinner,I probably had met at least half of bhoys that were there that night before ,and shook hands with most that I hadn’t met before, but it was a great week.

  9. Mike In Toronto…now that is funny…out loud laughter enuff to scare the neighbours…who are still scrambling ;-))

  10. Old Tim at 10:50


    You see, That’s why we love you . What a tale from 1967. Puts anything BRTH writes to shame! And yes, that was some evening the night before the 25th. Was just looking at the pictures today….fabulous, and Pink Street wasn’t bad either!!


    I’m taking my grandson to his first game v. Livi in a couple of week’s time. Super excited. If there’s a chance of catching up in the BV beforehand then that would be a bonus.

  11. As for the latest Summit about the violence in Scottish Fitba.



    Cut off the Goolies would surely be the answer to a non existent question.



    Police Scotland (hmmmmm)



    After the Clutha tradgedy it really annoys me when there are Helicopters in the sky @ Celtic Park with so many people in the one place. When that shocking OFBA act was in place the Polis had their eye in the sky a lot @ the Friendliest ground in the Country.



    Thankfully the eye in the sky husnae been there much this Season. Airdrie was the obvious wan. wtf wis that all aboot?



    I’m looking forward to having an angry Callum back for our next game. Is he Captano material? I will reserve judgement on that – I reckon he just might be.

  12. Petec at 11:06


    I’m looking forward to having an angry Callum back for our next game. Is he Captano material? I will reserve judgement on that – I reckon he just might be.




    Don’t burden the lhad. Bobby M never had to be captain, but he was still Mister Celtic. CalMac will do just fine as being the beating heart of The Celts.

  13. SCANIEL.



    I haven’t been to any games for a whole season,but would come into the B/V before the Livvy game just to meet you, know doubt there will be others there,


    if the Lurkin Tim is still on, theres a day we can meet up, I’ll come into the B/V around 1.00pm.

  14. SCANIEL.



    We were in Pink St, but went back under the road bridge and sat outside the first bar on the right hand side, had a great night and enjoyed all the singing coming from Pink St. Fabulous night.

  15. Scaniel,



    You are right.



    I have been astonished by the development of Callum. That first touch is Everything in fitba.



    He has had to be built up to Express himself so well.



    Brendan Rodgers had so much Belief in Callum and built him up so much and so very well.

  16. Old Tim at 11:12


    I’ve been following your posts and realised you haven’t managed any games but your indefegatability is legendary….. and never mind what that George Galloway thinks!


    LurkingTim, please note.


    Might even bring Patrick Delaney, our baby donkey with me!!


    Take Care All.

  17. Old Tim at 11:19. We ended up at that bar on the night of the Treble/Invincible Cup Final, (after losing BMCUWP), and Cosy Corner Bhoy, and met up with 4 of the most diverse Celtic Supporters I have ever met. The gin came in bucketfulls. You are absolutely right….just a wonderful, amazing, joyous 4 days in Lisbon celebrating The Famous Glasgow Celtic.

  18. Big Government is not good for the little guy.



    Jibber jabbering in Switzerland Monday night with ma big Sisters and ma wee Niece… differing views.



    I’m hoping for a no deal Brexit – it looked impossible until these last few days.

  19. Scaniel, so you won out in the end…hate to think what concessions you has to make tho, Paddy Delaney it is ;-)) Scaniel yer making OT jealous…gin sings his thing, tho, he canny sing ;-))




  20. I honestly feel for Theresa May – I think she wanted to please everyone.



    She is Alone with Everybody now.



    At least she had the courage to be the Prime Minister when noone else would touch it with a bargepole.

  21. I’m hoping that Jonny Hayes want to do things as quick as possible is infectious amongst the squad.



    Olivier Ntcham is due back soon too.



    Lost Time – It was Good that Kieran has realised that Time Out is recovering mentally as much as physically.



    I hope the Celts can win this TRULY REMARKABLE TT.

  22. Aberdeen will be tougher than they have ever been in the Semi Final.



    Aberdeen are a decent team and will really Believe they can beat Celtic this Time because of so many things.



    A Treble Treble is Fantasy Stuff surely.



    CELTIC is Rolling and Rocking.



    The Tricolour is Flying High and Prominent.



    Don’t you ever try to take it down from the Mast.

  23. Good to see that young coffee(Oldtim) stirring up the blog


    Great to see you on



    Scaniel best of luck with your new addition.



    Lisbon was superb,the beers,estadio(and we behaved-aff the pitch),the dinner,but most of all mixing with Celtic fans and havin the craic.




  24. it was a bit mental when we went to hire the Ski Gear.



    All the young and olde dudes were saying roughly 60 KG for the skis fitting. Little ole me said 108KG. :)))))))



    Maureen was on it



    My Big Sis was flying down the slopes. Maureen was Flying doon the slopes the last day.



    It was Good seeing her and her Nurse Daughter argue about so much on Monday night.



    Jay is a Nurse so she is on the front line.

  25. Christ died to take away EVERY Sin. Believe please for petes sake.



    Home Schooled Celtic fitba wise.



    Patience please.



    Tommy Burns – Mega Mega futurist in a really good sense.