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‘MY AIM IS TO BE ONE OF SCOTLAND BHOYS,’ CALMAC

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CALLUM McGREGOR us determined to establish himself as a Scotland regular alongside his Celtic team-mates.

The 24-year-old midfielder was ignored by Alex McLeish’s predecessor Gordon Strachan although he did make his international debut before the turn of the year when caretaker boss Malky Mackay picked him for the friendly against Holland at Pittodrie.

Scotland lost 1-0 and McGregor was also involved in another defeat when he came on as a 58th-minute substitute with Costa Rica alsready winning 1-0 at Hampden on Friday night.

Despite the efforts of McGregor and his fellow-sub Stuart Armstrong, that’s the way the scoreline remained.

The Hoops ace is tipped to start against Hungary in Budapest tonight and he said: “It’s a massive opportunity.

“Any time you play for your country, everyone is watching and you want to do yourself and your family proud.

“Certainly, it was positive when me and Stuart came on, but you could see from the start of the second-half the whole team lifted the performance.

“The manager spoke at half-time to lift the tempo and they did that and me and Stu added to that along with the other boys who came on.

“With the way we play and press we can add to the tempo. We’ve got that way of working already, it’s ingrained in us and the manager is trying to implement that here so helps when you have boys who play it every week.

“I often spoke about how the next step was to try and get into the international set-up and it was important to get there.

“That’s the easy bit done – it’s about trying to stay here now and impress at this level. That is the next step.”

He added: “It wasn’t nice to miss out when you see your team-mates going and playing with Scotland because as a young kid all you want to do is play for your country.

“There was a lot made of the fact there were so many Celtic players in the Scotland team and you’re the one not getting a chance to play international football.

“It was a frustrating time, but you have to knuckle down and prove to everyone you should be there. It was about playing well for Celtic and trying to get in the squad.

“You’ve got to look after your club performances. I’ve had a big year at Celtic with Brendan Rodgers taking my game to another level when he came in and it’s about trying to get that consistency.

“The next step is to take that into the international team and to show what I can do.”

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