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McGregor relishing the challenge posed by Belgians

By Ronnie Esplin

Callum McGregor believes Belgium are the "perfect" warm-up opponents for Scotland ahead of the Nations League opener against Albania.

The World Cup semi-finalists take on Alex McLeish's side at Hampden Park tomorrow night before the visit of the Albanians on Monday.

While the Scots are clearly coming up against a side of proven pedigree, who could inflict some damage to morale, the Celtic midfielder wants to measure himself against high quality.

He said: "As a professional you always want to test yourself, and those types of games are perfect for you.

"As a player you want to play against the best, and if you feel like you've done well in that game you come out of it and feel good about yourself and take that confidence into the next game.

"You want to play against the best players and Belgium certainly proved that at the World Cup in the summer. They are a big team with a lot of good players.

"But it is always good to test yourself against the best.

"The game will be intense, they will play one and two touch and get the ball moving, so I think that is a good idea to have that before you play in the competitive game."

While the Belgium squad is packed with well-known superstars, Albania are more of an unknown quantity, albeit they reached the European Championship in 2016.

However, McGregor's recent experience with Celtic in Champions League qualifiers will ensure he will not take anything for granted.

He said: "If they are getting to major tournaments then they have to be a good side.

"We have to be aware of that and I am sure we will do some video stuff in the next few days and we will be well prepared for it.

"We see it in the Champions League qualifiers, these sort of unknown teams, you come up against them and they are pretty well organised and really good."

Scotland are in a three-team group along with Albania and Israel, and McGregor knows there is no margin for error as they look to make the play-offs.

He said: "It is a three-team group and your first game is vital, especially being at home, you want to try to get a positive result and that springboards you forward into the campaign.

"We know the set up and it is a good opportunity to qualify for the Euros.

"Everyone wants to try to get that play-off spot even before the Euro qualifiers kick off."

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