CELTIC’s six starters for Scotland should turn into a Magnificent Seven for the crucial World Cup qualifier in June against England, CQN suggested the day after the 1-0 victory against Slovenia which kept Scotland in with a shout of getting through this group.
We certainly received a mixed response to that suggestion with more than one reader writing Callum McGregor for Scotland? LOL. One even suggested we’d been on the drink.
McGregor remains perhaps the most underrated player in the Celtic squad by a large section of the support.
Yet both Ronny Deila and Brendan Rodgers have had him in the team, so much so that McGregor past the 100 appearances mark a week or two ago.
And Rodgers joined the debate, supporting the idea that Callum should be in the Scotland squad and comparing him to the Welsh playmaker Joe Allen, who played for Rodgers at Swansea.
After yesterday’s 3-1 win over Kilmarnock in a sun-drenched Celtic Park, McGregor himself had his say and declared himself willing and able to join his six team-mates in Gordon Strachan’s line-up.
“I would feel better equipped to go back into the Scotland squad now. Definitely,” said the 23-year-old Celtic midfielder.
“When I was called up for the Germany game three years ago, I’d only played seven or eight games for Celtic, so it came pretty quickly in my career.
“I tried to take it all in my stride but, looking back with the benefit of hindsight, maybe it was a bit too early for me.
“Back then, I’d come off the back of a good loan move at Notts County, and I started the season scoring goals.
“But at Celtic, you have to play with a lot more responsibility to your game. You need to be part of a team and I have learned a lot on that side of it.
“Since then, I have picked up a lot more experience.
“I have gone through a lot – the ups and downs, the Champions League games – and I feel like I have learned a lot from the manager this season.
“I’m 23 now, and I feel that in the last four or five months, I am more of an established part of the squad.
“I’ve played a lot of games and in some big ones at that, so I don’t feel like a young player coming through now,” McGregor said.
“Playing for Scotland is still an ambition of mine. It would be an honour.
“The country has a lot of midfielders. You could name a full squad of them.
“But it’s up to me to keep doing well, then hopefully the call will come.
“Gordon Strachan spoke to me about the Champions League back then and said that qualifying for the group stages would be the next step for me.
“So I have been on the right track.”