CALLUM McGREGOR will take his place in the midfield against Norway at Hampden on Sunday evening as Scotland bring down the curtain on a successful Euro 24 qualifying campaign.
The Celtic captain played his part in the country reaching the summer Finals in Germany and they had already sealed their place among Europe’s elite before the 2-2 draw against Georgia in Tblisi last night.
McGregor scored his country’s opening goal in the 2-0 victory at Hampden in June to set up an intriguing return.
It was a frustrating encounter against opponents who were labelled “cry babies” by Scott McTominay, scorer of the first Scots goal before substitute Lawrence Shankland’s stoppage-time leveller.
And manager Steve Clarke was far from impressed by the hosts with a team that comprised of more actors than you would normally see at Oscar Night in Hollywood.
HAMPDEN HOORAYS…Callum McGregor is swamped by his Scotland team-mates after scoring the opening goal in the 2-0 win over Georgia in June.
A fuming gaffer hit out at the “shenanigans” of the Georgians whose players were swift to embrace the turf at the merest hint of a challenge in an effort to con ropey North Macedonian referee Aleksander Stavrev.
Manchester United midfielder McTominay, who claimed his seventh goal of the qualifiers, told Viaplay: “Every game at this level is big and obviously they have got some really, really good footballers, but I thought the way they were acting was a disgrace in terms of provoking the referee, as well.
“Anyway, that’s football and that’s sometimes the way it goes. We have to keep our heads, but it’s difficult.
“They should do something about people pretending that they’re injured when they’re not.
“It’s a difficult one to call, but rolling around, crying like babies is not football.
“For us, we just wanted to get on with the game and play and do our best. Whereas the other side was provoking the referee a lot.”
EURO VISION…Scott McTominay lashes out at the behaviour of the Georgian players.
Boss Clarke, celebrating his 50th international game in charge of the Scots, believed his players reacted well to the lengthy stoppages for treatment to home players and took advantage of the eight stoppage-time minutes.
He said: “That’s one of the challenges when you come here, you know they will do everything they can to get a positive result.
“You have to react to that. We have to make sure we control ourselves and don’t get involved, don’t encourage any sort of shenanigans.
“We just kept going, kept plugging away, we knew there was going to be extra time because now they have a better handle on time wasted – and it was nice to score in injury time.”
The draw keeps alive Scotland’s slim hopes alive of topping Group A ahead of Spain who won 3-1 in Cyprus last night.
McGregor’s Parkhead colleague Greg Taylor played for 79 minutes before making way for ex-Celt Stuart Armstrong at the same time Anthony Ralston replaced Nathan Patterson at right-back.
Now all eyes are on a sell-out Hampden on Sunday night as McGregor and Co want to sign off with a farewell win against the Norwegians with the soccer showpiece due to kick off in Germany on June 14 with the Final scheduled for July 14.