Swede & sour for telly

Sunday Mail (UK) - - Big Interview -

ma­ture. You can put him any­where now and you’ll get a top-qual­ity per­for­mance.

“Could he play at the top end of the Pre­mier League? Ab­so­lutely. Ev­ery­body watched Match of the Day last week when Ruud Gul­lit spoke about smaller play­ers nowa­days, with the power and strength they have.

“Look who the best play­ers in the world are? Messi now, Diego Maradona in my time.

“Peo­ple want guys who can do some­thing dif­fer­ent with the ball and Callum can do that. He picks passes and ex­e­cutes them.

“You need a first touch and fi­nal pass in foot­ball, which he has.”

When McGregor was farmed out to Meadow Lane in 2013, it could have been the be­gin­ning of the end of his Park­head ca­reer.

But he ex­celled with Notts County and is now flour­ish­ing un­der Rodgers as a big- game player in the Hoops’ dou­ble Tre­ble suc­cess.

Grant was full of ad­mi­ra­tion for how he dealt with the loan spell in Eng­land and isn’t sur­prised that McGregor is now reap­ing the re­wards.

He said: “He was ter­rif ic at County and some­times when you move away from Celtic you think that’s the end of the road.

“I’ve seen that with so many guys who didn’t re­alise they were go­ing out for ex­pe­ri­ence. They think they’re on the way out. But Callum viewed it com­pletely dif­fer­ently and ev­ery time I watched him he scored goals. “He showed matur ity down there be­cause it’s not an easy league to go to as a young player f rom a club l ike Celtic.

“Peo­ple look at the name and think he must be ex t raspe­cial but he pro­duced it and I kept an eye on Callum after that.

“He’s cer­tainly a boy I’d have taken to Eng­land if I’d been a man­ager down there be­cause of his per­for­mances for County. He had that much tal­ent and I know he was very much ap­pre­ci­ated down there. He has now taken it to an­other level at Celtic.

“That’s the ex­pec­ta­tion we have of him now with Scot­land – we trust Callum a lot.

“We won’t pi­geon hole him in a po­si­tion. We want him in ar­eas where he can af­fect our team – and the op­po­si­tion.”

In Scot­land’s last Na­tions League out­ing, even McGregor was be­low par in a dam­ag­ing de­feat to Is­rael.

It was a body blow to McLeish’s hopes of a back door en­try to the Euro 2020 play-offs.

They can still get there with

Sun­day Mail

pos­i­tive re­sults against Al­ba­nia and Is­rael this month but Grant is well aware that if they don’t get it right then their fu­ture in charge of Scot­land will be un­der threat.

He said: “We want the play­ers to suc­ceed and qual­ify be­cause it will live with them for­ever.

“The na­tion wants us to do well so there’s pres­sure that comes with that, so we’ve got to put it right in these games.

“We know what foot­ball’s like. In the English Cham­pi­onship you have three games in a week and if you don’t win two of them you’re out the door a day later.

“That’s the na­ture of the beast now – we can’t plan for that. We can only plan for the next game. How long it goes, no­body knows.”

61

The SPFL could sign a new TV deal with Sky Sports that’s still £18mil­lion less than what Eu­rosport are pay ing for Swedi sh foot­ball cov­er­age.

A bid­ding war has started for ex­clu­sive rights to screen Scot­land’s top-flight games from the start of the 2020/21 cam­paign.

It’s un­der­stood Sky are lead­ing the race af ter blow­ing BT Sports out of the wa­ter with an of­fer of around £30m per sea­son.

But that’s still well short of the bumper six-year deal agreed by Eu­rosport to show matches f rom Swe­den’s Allsven­skan and Su­perettan from 2020.

The un­fash­ion­able Scan­di­na­vian league has se­cured an eye-wa­ter­ing £ 48m per year, which is dou­ble their cur­rent deal.

The SPFL would ap­pear to be a far more at­trac­tive propo­si­tion with the Old Firm and po­ten­tial derby matches in Glas­gow, Ed­in­burgh and Dundee.

And after the ar­rival of man­agers such as Bren­dan Rodgers, Steven Ger­rard and Steve Clarke, the league body should find it­self in a po­si­tion of power.

But Sky are cur­rently in pole po­si­tion to land the new rights deal, de­spite ma­jor crit­i­cism of their Scot­tish foot­ball cov­er­age in re­cent years.

BT have led the way with their in- depth cov­er­age pro­duc­ing pro­grammes such as Scot­tish Foot­ball Ex­tra and their ex­pert use of so­cial me­dia to en­hance the SPFL.

The pair now share rights to air Scot­tish foot­ball on Bri­tish TV – with BT and Sky pay­ing £20m a year to share 60 SPFL matches.

Lea g ue ch ief Nei l Don­caster has come in for crit­i­cism in the past and will be aware of the need to get the next deal right.

The Scot­tish game is of­ten de­rided down south but Septem­ber’s clash be­tween Celtic and Rangers pulled in 522,000 view­ers.

The new deal looks set to trump the record £ 31m pack­age from doomed Se­tanta a decade ago but the Swedes have shown just how much TV com­pa­nies are will­ing to in­vest.

DON­CASTER TV flak

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