Belfast Telegraph

McGregor left hungrier than ever after Scotland snub

 

By Andy Newport

Celtic's Callum McGregor admits he has not heard from Gordon Strachan since his Scotland snub - but he is not giving up hope of playing a part in their World Cup push.

The in-form Hoops midfielder was controversially overlooked for this month's crucial qualifiers with Lithuania and Malta.

His absence, though, did not slow down the Scots as a team dominated by McGregor's Parkhead colleagues fired themselves back into contention for a play-off spot with back-to-back wins.

While disappointed to miss out this time, McGregor, who has netted in three of his club's four Ladbrokes Premiership fixtures so far this term, reckons he is now up to cap standard.

And he hopes he can use his club's glamour Champions League ties with Paris St Germain and Anderlecht to make his case for inclusion ahead of next month's make-or-break double header with Slovakia and Slovenia.

McGregor, whose one and only call-up came in August 2014, said: "I watched the two games. They were two good performances and two good wins, so the boys put themselves back in contention.

"Does that make me hungrier to break into the squad? Yeah, I've always wanted to be a part of it.

"For me there are some big games coming up at Celtic, and the Champions League is getting underway, so I just want to do well for Celtic and try to catch the eye.

"Those games can be a platform for me to show what I can do.

"I haven't had any conversations (with Strachan). But I do feel I'm ready for the international stage. I've got a lot of big club games under my belt now. I've played Champions League, Europa League and a lot of big cup games as well."

While Strachan continues to have his doubts over McGregor, the 24-year-old was delighted to see Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers give him his full backing.

Rodgers admitted he was "surprised" to see him left out, adding: "I don't know what else he can do."

McGregor says that vote of confidence can help him carry on his impressive start to the campaign.

"It's great to hear that from the manager. It's great to work with him," he added. "It's a great confidence booster to take into these big games."

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