When I had heard we had signed a young player from Celtic, I was overjoyed! I should explain, I’m a Notts County fan from birth, but I have been a Celtic fan since a young age, fascinated by the Hoops and the history of the club, so although I do realise it is frowned upon having two teams, I don’t care! But anyway, Notts were signing a young player from Celtic! I went over it in my head who I hoped it would be, but when I heard it was Callum McGregor I was well pleased, I’d heard good things about him through the Celtic View and various other Celtic sources, and I knew we had signed a very good player.
Unfortunately, Notts have had what could be described as a horrible, horrible season, I won’t bore you with all the details, but a manager who shouldn’t have been given the job (Keith Curle) was sacked and replaced by a manager who should never have been given the job (Chris Kiwomya), and only now do we have a man in charge who I believe most of the fans are fully behind, Shaun Derry, who began his career at Notts and he was a Notts fan as a kid. In among all that Callum has been a beacon, the one bright spark in all the rubbish, the player who could excite the fans, when he got the ball, you sensed something was going to happen, and it generally did.
At the time of writing, we are in a bit of limbo, not knowing if Callum is coming back to Notts for the rest of the season, and I for one hope and pray he comes back, because the rest of this season is daunting enough, but without Callum and his energy, his drive, his enthusiasm, his goals, then it will be a long road to May from here on in. He is our top scorer with 12 goals, and some of them have been absolute top drawer as well, he is a class above the squad he is in and he is a class above the level he is playing at to. From when I first saw him play, I just knew he was good, and that we were lucky to have him, and without doubt, he is one of the best loan signings in the clubs history, I can only think of a couple of other players who have had such an impact whilst on loan.
He scored on his debut, he had only signed that day but was thrust straight into the first team that night to play Fleetwood Town in the League Cup and he scored a cracking goal that night as we beat the League Two side 3-2, which earned us the right to go to Anfield in the 2nd round.
We played Liverpool away in the League Cup 2nd Round, and Callum didn’t look out of place surrounded by a pretty much full strength team that Liverpool had put out, his energy was infectious as he played the role just behind the lone striker, and he played the full 120 minutes, running himself into the ground, harrying and tackling Steven Gerrard and co as if they were just Sunday league players, as Notts came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 and send the game into extra time. We lost 4-2 in the end but Callum that night won the fans and we have been in his corner ever since.
In League One, defenders tackle, hard and proper, no messing, I believe it’s proper football, compared to the pampered and softness of the Premier League, and the skillful players at this level have to earn the right to run with the ball, but Callum does that and as I’ve said before, some of his goals have been absolute class! He has a coolness under pressure and he is such a great talent, it truly has been a privilege to watch him play these past few months, and I just hope we can hold on to him till May (at least!) but if he returns to Celtic then the hoops truly do have a cracking young player on the books, a younger version of Kris Commons in my own humble opinion, and he can and will get better to.
In my opinion, he is definitely good enough to play at a much higher level than this, could definitely fit in in the Celtic squad, and whilst at Notts, he has gained Scotland U21 honours which was great both for him and for Notts as well, as his confidence raised and you could see he was buzzing from it as well, and I hope he can go on and earn full international honours, as being a small club, it is always nice to see the young players we have had go on to have a great future in the game, and boast that we had a part to play in that, and I truly believe that young Callum is destined for a great career! Hope he remembers us when he’s scoring the goals for Celtic in the Champions League!