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. Thank You Neil Francis Lennon for stepping in and helping Celtic.



    Lots of work to be done.



    I reckon the flag guys will be doing a roaring trade @ the next HOME game. ;))

  2. Brutal reading the report of the Scotland game , glad I didn’t watch it due to it being on at daft o’clock over here . Didn’t see that coming .



    No positives to be taken from that unless it leads to a serious review and a sincere attempt at making some positive changes that will help our game over the long term .




  3. There was a Moment that just said to little olde me, that CQN is the place to be.



    My hearing is the worst Ever, I think, I Hope, I know…. Everyone knows this by noo.



    Misheard Lyrics vol 1.



    misheard lyrics



    Take me to your Aunties house, I want to see your Uncles.



    A Treble Treble is now possible. Think Long and Hard about that.



    Roar them home Bhoys and Ghirls. Roar them every step of the way home



    That steward was ‘proactive’ in taking down the Tricolour flag. The Bhoy risked injury instantly to sort things. Incredible Celtic Support.



    Magical – As I keep Law and Order on the streets of New York – truly Magical.




    That is just insane.



    Aiberdeen are most likely to spoil it.



    Who knows Anything?



    I know those that went before us done the hard yards.



    Neil has had so much on his plate.



    His Cup record as a rookie Manager wisnae the best.



    The odds say that Aberdeen will eventually win a Hampden game against Celtic. No Doubt they will feel they can definitely do it this Time.



    NFL is Clever and will hopefully have something up his sleeve tactically or just all the players back. ;)

  5. DBHOY @ 3:18 AM,



    Brutal reading the report of the Scotland game…



    No positives to be taken from that unless it leads to a serious review and a sincere attempt at making some positive changes that will help our game over the long term.



    Well, it’s nothing short of a disgrace, we can speculate why Alex McLeish got the job but we all know it’s Scottish Football “Realpolitik” rather than anything coming close to footballing reasons.



    It’s been this way for a generation, we’ve been scratching our head and wondering WTF since Roxburgh’s mind-boggling appointment all thosr years ago.



    I remember stating on here, almost a decade ago, that Craig Levein had got the Scotland job due to the situation at Rangers.



    You see George Burley had been sacked after another woeful World Cup qualifying campaign. There was supposed to be a review then, it was some ten!? Months until the National Team’s next competitive match.



    They weren’t going to rush in and appoint a manager, they were going to look at the changes required and after the review and appoint the right man/team for the job.



    However Rangers needed Success in all competitions and desperately needed UCL money. As usual the competition with Celtic was close but Dundee United managed by Craig Levein and Peter Houston were hitting a purple patch.



    Arguably they were the form side in Scotland. They had beaten Celtic and had Rangers coming up in both Cup Competitions and home and away in the League. These were going to be acrimonious hard matches for Rangers.



    Then all of a sudden the SFA abandoned there plans to review their failed policies and began negotiations with Craig Levein. Dundee United’s form bombed and the relative rookie Mr Levein was signed up as Scotland manager on Christmas eve 2009.



    He was awarded a contract for the Euro qualifiers and the next World Cup (5 1/2 year deal:) and he wasn’t taking Peter Houston with him, even though it was perceived that it was the coaching “team” that had brought success to Dundee United.



    When I stated my opinion of why to my mind, Mr Levein had been offered the job, there was much mocking and laughing up sleeves. I wonder how many think it’s so far fetched today.



    Why did Alex McLeish; a man who had deserted the National Team to take a lucrative contract in England, who, if he had any abilities as a high level manager, and that’s a big if, these were long in the past, a man that as an ex-Rangers manager and EBT recipient, was caught up in the biggest football scandal the UK had seen – why had he been offered the position of Manager of the NT of Scotland’s national sport?!



    The fact is Scottish Football is rotten to the core; the stench of corruption and incompetence reeks throughout the game.



    Where, throughout the SFA, the SPFL and the Clubs is there one half decent administrator? So this is where huge reviews and changes are needed. Who are the folk who implement reviews and changes? I rest my case…



    You will see rolled out from every administrator, from every major Scottish football organisation and club the same sorry excuses again and again… the supporters from the Sevcovians, to the Tartan Army to the Tims, accept this nonsense, gullibly, season after season…



    Where is our…



    Football Leaders (patriot Alex Ferguson, wouldn’t touch Scottish Football with a barge pole)



    Quality Managers



    Football Directors



    Technical Directors



    Player Development programs



    Youth Academies



    Schools of Excellence



    Match officiating standards reviews



    VAR implemention, rule reviews… etc etc etc..?



    One person I can think of and one person only, Steve Clarke at Kilmarnock, is succeeding in Scottish Football and IMO for two reasons. He was taught to play and coach outwith Scottish Football and he won’t be cowtailed and abused into confirming with the the mediocre and corrupt…



    Remember when that was par for the course in our National Sport (administors excepted)…



    As a wiser man than I once said – Be the change in the world you want to see…



    Hail Hail

  6. Teh SFA Blazers are the real problemo. Interesting the route to UEFA and FIFA.



    Celtic – Thank You.



    I hope we win the Title this Season, a Double would be spiffing. A Treble Treble would just simply be Unbelievable

  7. Good morning, friends, and a Big Happy Friday to you all from this wee deflated embarrassed Scotland supporter. Ach, life itself is still good!

  8. It has to be said that the Food @ the top of the mountain was Fantasticque. If WDH wiz there I’m sure he’d gie it a 4 out of 5.



    My Sister in Law wisnae happy with their grub previously, she has very high standards, nowt wrang way that.



    I’m not a food connoisseur, it turns out that Aidan is mega into Fine Dining – All Together Now

  9. Petec.


    I said wow when Celtic won the treble.



    I said serious wow when the bhoys did the double treble.



    I’ll be off the scale if we do the treble treble.



    Keep the faith P.




  10. Sean T,



    I know very little about Parliament. The EU trying to dictate to it is not surprising.



    F them and their laws.



    RIP Keith.

  11. if things are going wrong just Open up the Good Book.



    The New Testament is just Incredible and…………………………

  12. Is it true that the SFA and SPFL have agreed that Celtic will be allowed to keep the trophies in the momentous event of the treble treble?

  13. sean thornton,



    Lets just do that Lisbon Treaty vote Again.



    800 years?



    The Book of John is Mega Mega.

  14. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    The SFA : The shameless delivering the shameful.



    Can’t wait for this international fixtures


    window to end.



    Hail hail

  15. Teuchter at la 2.22



    Well pointed out and corrected Teuchter,I done a reading at it too!! The walk on at the end instantly came to mind my friend.as meeting a lot of tims on leaving.hope life’s good your side of the water,


    Hail hail

  16. Neustadt-Braw on

    BREAKING: Theresa May rushes to appoint Alex McLeish as new Brexit Secretary as he will guarantee being out of Europe in March 2019



    smiley bring back wee Bertie thing



    Saor Alba




  17. Chairbhoy 6.50am…Good post as usual .



    The result against Kazakstan will go down as arguably our worst ever . I feel like we’ve reached a new low with that result . We’ve been in decline for years for the reasons well laid out in your post .



    Scotland needs a footballing revolution . All the old ways and practices that are holding us back have to go . We need to be more progressive and innovative in our approach and this should come from the institutions that govern our game .



    Other nations with similar or smaller populations than ours seem to consistently do so much better than us .



    What are Croatia and Scandinavian countries doing differently from us ?




  18. celticrollercoaster on

    ???Last Man Standing 12- one more Jobo sleep to it all kicks off???



    Good morning folks



    Thank you to the 78 competitors who have joined our final competition of the season and the chance to not only win a nice wee sum of cash but also help raise money for great causes If you have been registered you should have received an email by now giving you the first week fixtures, so if we have missed you then drop us a reminder email.



    Still time to join and have a bit of fun! 10 more entries to the magic 88 and only 22 away from 100!!



    Email us at cqnpredictor@ gmail.com



    HH and good luck



    CRC and Bateen Bhoy

  19. mike in toronto on

    PETEC on 22ND MARCH 2019 7:46 AM


    Sean T,


    I know very little about Parliament.






    Here you go… everything you could want to know about the only Parliament worth knowing – Parliament Funkadelic – one Nation Under a Groove, with The only Clinton worth voting for – George Clinton – with Bootsy Collins as VP



  20. Fix Fitba’ Empty Hampden…………………….






    Hope all our Bhoys are soon back home safe and sound.

  21. 3 Trebles isnae real 2 real Shirley.



    Roar them Home.



    This Country is Institutionally Racist, I don’t think that is in doubt.



    Adair listening to him wants to transpose the Troubles to Scotland. I Hope he is barking mad and wrang.



    There are deep Feelings that only come out when buttons are pressed.



    Come on the Celts – Beating Aberdeen is gonnae be so very difficult – I know you can do it.

  22. DBHOY @ 8:38 AM,



    Well, this is the cruix of the matter the institutions that govern Scottish Football are run by people who have no interest in modernising the game and striving for any sort of excellence.



    They are simply interested in the kudos their positions bring and their pay packets that they’d never achieve in a real industry.



    The SFA doesn’t even run an academy, meanwhile our Icelandic neighbours innovate and improve…



    I’ve even heard excuses for that an awe… we don’t make athletes the statute of Iceland… really…



    Have they seen the Scotland Rugby team.



    I’m on a rugby forum someone had stated that Finn Russell had played in the Calcutta Cup with a broken jaw and was man of the match – Scotland Football Captain Andy Robertson can’t make a game because he has a dentist appointment!?



    No harm to Andy BTW it just tells a story of the sorry state of affairs…



    It’s going to take someone outwith Football to do it, no one wants to touch it.



    Interesting looking at Henry McLiesh’s wiki page, outside his fledgling youth career nothing about Football… what’s that all about…



    He was supposed to be championing a huge root and branch review of Scottish Football…



    The he was championing supporters direct Scotland…



    I joined up and have heard nothing for years…



    And all reference to his work in Scottish Football has been removed from Wiki






    It’s embarrassing to be associated with it



    He was incompetent and wants to brush that part of his career aside



    He was a diversion tactic, an establishment squirrel and now it’s job done?



    Scottish Football needs it’s Fergus and I’ve no idea where that comes from…



    Hail Hail