Yesterday CALLUM MCGREGOR’s phone sounded like a cabinet minister’s test and tracing app, and amid the kudos for being officially named Celtic club captain, a peculiar image popped up time and time again.
The photo, which originally appeared on The CelticWiki website in September 2008, shows McGregor as a ball catcher in the background as Hesselink’s Jan Venegoor, Scott McDonald and Aidan McGeady celebrate a goal against Aberdeen during the ‘a 3-2 victory at Celtic Park.
This fresh-faced youngster who strikes the air with pleasure is now the 31st Celtic Captain, and he’s as thrilled now that he would have been stunned to hear the news.
âProbably at that point you’re a million miles away from that,â McGregor said. âYou enjoy the game.
âYou obviously have that aspiration to get into the first team, to make your debut, and it will be a beautiful picture to look back on. I will probably have gotten it about a million times when I get a chance to watch my phone.
âIt’s a good time to come full circle. It’s great when young people join the team and make a name for themselves.
âI have managed to take the next step to become one of the captains of the club, and it is a proud moment for me, my family and for all those connected with me.
âI’m going to appreciate it, but I know there is also a lot of work to be done.
âOne thing is certain, I will give everything to the club and try to make it succeed.
âIt is a huge honor to be named club captain and to join an elite group of players who have previously been club captains.
“This is a really proud moment for me, my family and everyone who is linked to me.”
McGregor, then 15, would hardly have believed what he was going to accomplish at Celtic, but at 28 and having been vice-captain last season, it wasn’t much of a major surprise to receive the honor after Scott Brown. Departure.
However, new manager Ange Postecoglou kept him waiting as he assessed McGregor’s credentials and his influence on the team.
âI was trying not to think about it too much,â he said. âAfter the Euro I had a few days off, then when you come back to work, and when you meet new people in football, you just want to impress them and people to say good things about you. was my only goal when coming back.
âEveryone knows the situation the club finds itself in; a new era, a transition. So I was just trying to come back and be positive, and try to impress the new manager as much as possible and I can’t wait to take on the challenge.
“I probably had a half-idea in my head that this could have happened, but I was just trying to focus on the fitness and pushing hard in the preseason, and obviously getting to know the manager.”
McGregor knows how much shoes he has to fill, and that it would be extremely difficult to replace a skipper like Brown. The solution? Don’t try.
âI think every Celtic captain who has ever been has been different in terms of personality, the way they lead,â he said.
âThey also had different qualities about them and I was lucky enough to learn one of the best, one of the most successful, so I have to take that education and put my own mark on it.
âThe club is going through a transition phase and it will not be completely normal. But if we have good people here who are desperate to get it right and work as hard as possible to make the club successful, I don’t think we’ll be too far away.
“It’s my only goal now to get down to work and build something here for this football club.”
The fact that McGregor generously sprinkles the word ‘transition’ into the conversation is notable, with the new Celtic skipper fully aware of the difficulties they may face at this early stage of Postecoglou’s reign. Particularly in tonight’s Champions League qualifier against FC Midtjylland, which came way too early for anyone who loves the club.
âI don’t think it’s a big secret that we’re in a period of transition,â he said. âThere is a new general manager, a new manager, some players have left.
âSo we know it’s going to be a big challenge, and like any transition, it’s never always going to be easy.
âThere will be a few bumps in the road, but as long as we have good people with good ideas, good direction and good discipline, then we’ll get there.
âIt’s pretty obvious that we need a few players, and then also the guys who are here have to step up and take responsibility as a group of players.
âWe have enough experience there to be successful so it’s about adding the right guy with the right quality to be successful at this club.
âThere is nothing wrong with having hope and believing that you can achieve these things.
“The expectation is also different, but we, the players, can only give 100% to the club and the cause and do what the manager asks us to do.”