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. I did not like hearing my Son call Brendan a Rat so angrily.



    That is hatred that isnae right.



    7 trophies on the spin. Perfecto and well worth the SALARY he was paid for.



    Noone knows anything, I know I know Nothing but Celtic have the chance to win a 3rd Treble in the most hostile of Countries.



    Roar them all the way to it.

  2. No interest in Scotland games, however, KT being sent home with injury is a concern- not that said injury was caused by Scotland.



    The lad has played way too much football these past few yerars and needs complete rest to achieve full recovery. Celtic for their part need to allow this and to also purchase an adequate replacement in the summer so as he can sit out games when required.



    No point in rushing him for the remainder of this season, lets get him fit and ready for CL qualifiers.

  3. Very Quiet …….all over…..


    …..The International “Break”…………


    does that to everyone


    it appears………..




    Fix Fitba’, Empty Hampden CSC

  4. The Battered Bunnet on

    I was thinking…



    See if we ran a crowd funder to pay off his EBT tax bill, would McLeish Eck off?

  5. The Battered Bunnett



    Is McLeish having the Scotland manager’s job not a SFA crowd funder? The mugs who fund football pay for it by using their hard earned, tax paid income and the SFA pay that over to the halfwit McLeish

  6. Silver City 1888 on

    The problem with Scottish football is that less able players are allowed to kick lumps out of talented stars to, ahem, even up a game.

  7. South Of Tunis on




    Funds could be boosted by a wee charity choon .( chanter to be decided )



    That- A Gordon For Me -choon -would be right up the Tartan Army’s kilt –



    An EBT for me


    An EBT for me .


    If it’s no an EBT it’s nae use to me

  8. Chairbhoy



    Not sure you will get much joy out of Supporters Direct. I still get e-mails from them and they represent the myths rather than the truths of Scottish football.



    Their recent survey stated that



    1) 85% of supporters revealed they had witnessed ‘sectarianism’ compared with ‘racism’ (58%), physical abuse (52%) and homophobia (51%)



    2) 41% of respondents said they had been subject to sectarianism and 16% physical abuse. 34% said they would not report it at all




    3) Positively, supporters are more optimistic (41%) than pessimistic (34%) about the future of Scottish football. And the Scottish Cup is highly rated with 72% of fans saying that the oldest cup competition in the world is a great spectacle.



    4) 64% in favour of alternative European club competition with nations such as Belgium, Holland, Sweden and Denmark





    5) Few respondents attend women’s matches with supporters saying that the biggest opportunities to increase attendances would come via:



    Knowing when and where games are on (43%)


    Better promotion from media (39%)




    To which I say, Aye right. This group just wants Saturday 3pm kick offs and the big bad O** F*** punished for sectarianism




    Much worse than Supporters Direct are Scotland’s National Football Association. I received an e-mail from their representative which stated:-



    “We believe that far more research has to be done to see if strict liability can be adopted in Scotland as an effective way to eradicate sectarian singing at our stadiums. We will be reaching out to members in the weeks ahead to get their input. ”



    No questions are to be asked as to whether Strict Liability IS effective, just the means to get it adopted. This looks to be the Sporting Wing of the SNP and they are organising to get punitive measures imposed on football fans in the name of football fans. I fear we are about to be blindsided. I wrote back to them and, surprisingly, did not receive a reply. Guess I am not one who will be “reached out to for input”.




    P.S. I think you are wrong to link Andy Roxburgh (and Craig Brown) with the failures of McLeish and Levein. Andy Roxburgh, with Craig Brown, dragged Scottish football coaching into a modern organised era. Up to then, you had to find individuals like Stein and Turnbull, who were operating outside the convential wisdom that coaching was for foreigners. Roxburgh and Brown and others made a formal coaching structure and qualifications that improved the level of all round coaching. My own sport and several other minority sports in Scotland were streets ahead of Scottish football in this regard. Craig Brown, who has many other faults, as a coach and a man, acknowledges how tardy Scottish football was on improving coach education and resources and how much they adapted from other sports. (P.S. the secret to the increased physique of Scottish Rugby players may not be all due to fitness training and a lot more to do with, ahem, supplements). A similar route was taken by Scottish athletes inspired by David Jenkins and Scottih cyclists like David Millar.



    The “Largs” course, of its time, was a success, even though most coaches were trained elsewhere for their earlier badges. Don’t believe me, ask Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho!


    I feel the deterioration in football ability in the 90s and new millenium has factors other than the improved coaching framework which these two Teachers (Roxburgh & Brown) set up.

  9. LMS 12 Update



    Good Morning,


    With the number of entrants having passed the 90 mark, we are happy to announce that , in memory of Elizabeth Fallon, Wife of The Original Holy Goalie John Fallon and Mother to a lovely family, Alzheimers Scotland will be the LISBON Beneficiary from monies raised by you through participation in LMS12..


    We’re all aware of the pain and distress which dementia can cause, and the effects it can have, not only on sufferers, but also on the family and friends of those affected.. If you want to learn more about the work done by AS, please visit their website at http://www.alzscot.org



    We will soon announce the SEVILLE Beneficiary for LMS12, but in the meantime, a very big THANK YOU to all who participate and time after time, are so generous in supporting our wee competitions.



    P.S If you haven’t yet made your pick for Round 1, time is short.All those who have picked will have received confirmation from us that their pick has been registered.



    CRC and Bateen Bhoy

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