Swede & sour for telly
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
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.”
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