Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor on threat of being dropped for Billy Gilmour ahead of huge Scotland game

Callum McGregor has admitted his Scotland place is under severe threat following the emergence of Chelsea’s Billy Gilmour.

Callum McGregor - knows he is fighting for Scotland place (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

The Celtic midfielder is on tenterhooks to learn whether he starts in Scotland’s opening Group D match against Czech Republic tomorrow. Steve Clarke will reveal his team to the players on the day itself and the manager has already revealed that he is swithering over just one position.

Some are predicting this uncertainty could involve whether to start Gilmour, who impressed after replacing McGregor at half-time in last Sunday’s 1-0 win over Luxembourg.

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The 20-year-old has since recovered from a blow to the head that saw him taken off after half an hour as a precaution. He could make his full debut in the first major finals match Scotland have played since before he was born.

Asked if he views Gilmour’s arrival on the scene as a challenge, McGregor said: “Of course. Every season you get challenged by new people, different players coming through.

"We are not directly in competition. I think everyone in the squad is here to play a part. It’s like that every season. You have to give your best and push to stay in the team and also make sure you are doing what the manager asks you to do.

"There is always somebody trying to catch you and take your jersey. That’s why it’s super competitive and it’s up to the players to keep pushing as much as we can every day."

McGregor cannot avoid the critics who believe he should pay the cost for a season where he struggled to reach previous personal performance heights as Celtic fell miserably short in their ambition to win ten-in-a-row.

“Everyone in football has their opinion,” he said. "We have to just focus on everyday stuff, the way we train and play. Granted, the season did not go the way we planned it to. But when you build something up so much, obviously the downfall from that is going to be massive too. We have to put that behind us.”

McGregor knows there will be someone with very special interest in how he performs this summer – new Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou. “It’s a fresh start when we go back,” he said. “I have this chance to impress from afar.”

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