Celtic striker Callum McGregor has been called into the Scotland squad for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Slovakia and Slovenia.
McGregor’s call-up was announced on the Scottish Football Association’s Twitter account on Sunday.
The 24-year-old took his goals tally for the season to six with a double in Celtic’s 2-2 draw against Hibernian on Saturday.
McGregor’s call-up was prompted by injuries to Celtic team-mates Stuart Armstrong and Scott Brown, who were ruled out of the two qualifiers which will determine Scotland’s World Cup fate
Scotland manager Gordon Strachan had initially held off seeking replacements in the immediate wake of Brown and Armstrong’s withdrawals.
However, McGregor, pictured, and John McGinn, who scored Hibs’ two goals, both produced displays that endorsed their credentials to deputise for the injured pair. But while the Easter Road man was already firmly in Strachan’s plans, the Celtic playmaker had previously 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.
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