Callum McGregor set for Scotland call after rescuing Celtic

Callum McGregor celebrates his equalising goal for Celtic. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNSCallum McGregor celebrates his equalising goal for Celtic. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS
Callum McGregor celebrates his equalising goal for Celtic. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS
Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor looks set to earn a Scotland call-up after staking his claim with a double in a thrilling 2-2 draw with Hibernian in Glasgow yesterday.

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan held off seeking replacements in the immediate wake of Scott Brown and Stuart Armstrong being forced out of the squad on Friday for the decisive World Cup qualifying double-header this week. However, it is believed he will do so before the squad meet up at Mar Hall today for the games against Slovenia at home on Thursday and the Slovenia assignment three days later that will determine if Scotland can earn a play-off place.

McGregor, pictured, and McGinn, who scored Hibs’ two goals, both produced displays that endorsed their credentials to deputise for the injured Brown and Armstrong. But while the Easter Road man is already firmly in Strachan’s plans, the Celtic playmaker has been unable to win a place in the squad despite a national clamour, earning a solitary call-up from Strachan more than three years ago.

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His club manager Brendan Rodgers has been consistently willing to talk up the 24-year-old’s suitability for the international domain, and did so again after the player’s late equaliser preserved Celtic’s domestic unbeaten run that now stretches to 58 games.

“I have said before about where I think the boy is at with his ability,” said the Celtic manager. “He is a wonderful player, he can keep the ball, he is getting big game experiences. You see the boy McGinn today, he has got two good goals as well but we have got Callum. He can play at that level but it is the job of other people to select him. You see his goals today: two different types, a late run into the box touch and finish and then that composure when the ball comes back. You see lots of players just smash that but he guides it in and it got us back into the game.

“It is international football where you need to have technique and tactical understanding and he is a boy where one of his biggest attributes is his temperament. No matter the occasion, the game, in front of 100 or 60 to 70,000 his temperament is pretty clear. At that level you need players with that mentality and he is playing for a huge club so he is used to that expectation.

“That is all I would say with Callum. He is a top young player and I am sure at some point he will get in there.”