CALLUM McGREGOR, who celebrates his 27th birthday today, is obviously a great believer in the old adage you only get one chance to make a first impression.
Ronny Deila, who had just taken over as manager from Neil Lennon in the summer of 2014, introduced the fresh-faced youngster to the Celtic top team for a Champions League qualifier against FK Rekjavik in Iceland – and the Glaswegian promptly repaid the Norwegian for his faith in his ability by crashing in the only goal of the encounter.
McGregor put down a marker that evening and it has led to a glittering career for club and country with the elegant anchorman receiving the applause his skills deserve.
He demonstrated his true grit by accepting a loan spell at Notts County during his formative years at the Hoops. He came back from his stint in the lower leagues in England a more mature and competent midfielder. Calmac made the breakthrough under the guidance of Deila, continues it during Brendan Rodgers’ two and a half years and was a first team mainstay when Neil Lennon returned in February last year.
The Birthday Bhoy is now the respected vice-captain to Scott Brown and is a key man as the Hoops go for the magical 10 in a row.
CQN‘s ace lensmen have been chartering McGregor’s progress at the champions. Here is the pick of the pics.
EURO NEW BHOY…Callum McGregor (front row, second lef) takes his place with his team-mates before the Champions League second leg qualifier against FK Rekjavik. Back row: Fraser Forster, Mikael Lustig, Efe Ambrose, Charlie Mulgrew, Emilio Izaguirre, Virgil van Dijk; Front: Leigh Griffiths, Callum McGregor, Kris Commons, Teemu Pukki and Stefan Johansen.
CRUNCH…Callum McGregor in action against Legia Warsaw in the Champions League qualifier at Murrayfield.
GOALDEN BHOY…Callum McGregor fires in a fine left-footed strike against St Johnstone at McDairmid Park.
CELEBRATIONS…Callum McGregor looks happy after netting against Dundee United at Tannadice.
PRIZE GUY…Callum McGregor holds aloft the Premiership trophy after his first season.
MESSI AND ME…Callum McGregor with Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi during a pre-season game in Ireland.
JOY BHOYS…Callum McGregor celebrates with his colleagues after the 3-0 League Cup Final victory over Aberdeen in November 2016.
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN…Callum McGregor leaves James Tavernier trailing in the Hoops’ 2-1 win at Ibrox on Hogmanay 2016.
SILVERWARE SMILE…Callum McGregor proudly holds the newly-won Premiership trophy for season 2016/17.
THE FINAL PUSH…Callum McGregor challenges Aberdeen’s Niall McGinn in the Hoops’ Scottish Cup triumph to complete an unbeaten domestic season with the treble.
GONG SHOW…Callum McGregor proudly presents his League Cup medal after the 2-0 win over Motherwell in November 2017.
PICK IT OUT…Callum McGregor races away after scoring the opening goal in the 2-0 Scottish Cup Final in May 2018. Motherwell keeper Trevor Carson is left helpless on the Hampden turf.
CHEERS…the Celtic players, led by Kieran Tierney, congratulate Callum McGregor after his unstoppable strike against Well.
THE CUP THAT CHEERS…Callum McGregor proudly holds aloft the Scottish after the 2018 success.
DREAM BHOYS…Kieran Tierney and Callum McGregor hold the League Cup after this season’s 1-0 victory over Aberdeen in December.
HAPPY DAZE…Callum McGregor and his team-mates line up for the League Cup presentation.
THREE OF A KIND…Celtic supporters as well as players, Jonny Hayes, Kieran Tierney and Callum McGregor all smiles after another triumph.
THREE CHEERS…Greg Taylor, Callum McGregor and Leigh Griffiths applaud the fans.
HAMPDEN HOORAYS…Callum McGreor and Scott Brown congratulate Man-of-the-Match Fraser Forster after his display in the 1-0 Betfred League Cup Final triumph over Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox side.
HOOP HOOP HOORAY…Callum McGregor celebrates with his Celtic team-mates after the title triumph in season 2018/19.