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STU HAILS ‘LEADER’ CALMAC

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STUART ARMSTRONG insists his former Celtic team-mate Callum McGregor is the right man to skipper Scotland.

The midfielder, who joined Southampton in the summer, believes the Hoops star will lead by example when the Scots kick off their Euro 2020 adventure against Kazakhstan this afternoon.

McGregor has been named international captain for the first time by manager Alex McLeish following the double injury blow that has sidelined regular skipper Andy Robertson and Kieran Tierney, who would have been expected to take over the armband.

The 25-year-old playmaker has developed into a key man for the champions over the past two seasons and is ready for the step up when he makes his 10th appearance for his country today at the Astana Arena.

Armstrong, speaking to Sky Sports, said: “It’s disappointing to have Andy out, but I think the squad as a whole is a good one in terms of depth and Callum is taking on the captaincy. I have played with him for many years, so I know his abilities as a leader and the team has a lot of respect for him.

BORN LEADER…Callum McGregor is perfect for Scotland.

“He is very organised. Sometimes you play with players who are natural leaders on the pitch who spur the team on, not so much vocally, but naturally with their play. Callum is definitely one of those players.

“He has a lot of respect in that sense.┬áHe is very good technically, too. The team are delighted that he is going to be leading the nation as it were. It’s a great honour for Callum.”

McGregor and Armstrong have both played in the stadium for the Hoops in Champions League qualifiers and have yet to sample victory at the ground, although they have qualified on all three occasions they have faced opposition from Kazakhstan.

The former Dundee United star added: “We had a tough game here in the qualifiers and we know what to expect. I certainly won’t underestimate them.

“In terms of the pitch, I was actually surprised by how good it was even though it was an astroturf. Naturally we prefer to play on grass, but many of the boys have played on astroturf domestically so it’s no problem.”

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Kazakhstan v Scotland this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.

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