When Scott Brown left Celtic in the summer for a player-coach role elsewhere, it left a huge void that needed to be filled at Parkhead.
Brown had been a gracious servant for so long to the Hoops but not only were they going to miss his tough-tackling nature, but also his leadership.
Fortunately, Celtic have a certain Callum McGregor at their disposal.
The midfielder didn’t enjoy the best of campaigns in 2020/21, being sent off for a late lunge on Glen Kamara in the final Old Firm of the season. However, he looks like a new man under Ange Postecoglou.
McGregor is the club captain and that fine reward has evidently improved his performances.
The Scottish star scored a screamer against Midtjylland in the Champions League and is now proving his worth on the international stage as well.
He featured for his country against Austria on Tuesday night and put in a fabulous showing as Scotland remarkably won 1-0.
The result was a huge one for the Scots as they significantly boosted their chances of qualifying for the World Cup next year.
Lyndon Dykes was the man who scored the goal but McGregor was undoubtedly the stand out man in the middle of the park.
On his way to being described as “immense” by The Scotsman reporter, Barry Anderson, the central midfielder was a thorn for Austria.
It was in physical battles where McGregor truly shone. During the course of the match, he won six of his nine ground duels (66.6%). That was the second-best tally on the entire field, only behind Che Adams.
His showing was so good that it even provoked praise from The Athletic’s Rangers correspondent, Jordan Campbell. At full-time, he said on Twitter: “That was McGregor’s best performance in a Scotland shirt.”
It’s hard to argue with that claim, especially when they beat a team ranked 23 places above them by FIFA.
McGregor did score at the recent European Championships when Scotland beat Croatia, but even this display outshone that one.
On this occasion, he ran the show from midfield and helped Scotland to a famous clean sheet and victory in a match they’d traditionally lose.