When Calum McGregor broke on to the scene at the start of the 14/15 campaign it looked as if Celtic’s youth academy had produced another attacking gem to match the standard of Aiden McGeady and Shaun Maloney. Champions League goals of genuine quality against the likes Maribor and Legia Warsaw reinforced this view.

Now though his reputation has diminished greatly. The 23-year-old has found himself without a position to call his own; lacking the physicality and endurance to operate in Rodgers’ central three and without the guile to secure a starting berth out wide. It also has not helped that the starting eleven are in superb form, to the point where dropping anyone, the attacking players in particular, would be deemed harsh.

The sad fact of the matter is that Brendan Rodgers is improving the squad at an exponential rate, either through new signings or by improving the existing players. Sadly, for McGregor he falls in neither of these categories. And, as his late miss against Borussia Monchengladbach shows, there is now a vocal section of the support that is losing either patience or faith in the player.

To me he is the physical embodiment of the failing Deila regime in that he does just enough to get by but not enough to get the club moving forward. This season, despite the continuous onslaught of attacking football, McGregor is yet to get his name on the scoresheet. This of course comes with the caveat that he has played just fourteen times.

It appears that Rodgers still has some faith in the player as he is routinely thrown into the fray as a second half substitute, for how long this remains the case is up for debate. For me, as Rodgers is allocated more funds and he is allowed to realise his visions, McGregor will be shown the exit door.

He clearly has some promise and looks as though he is the type of player willing to knuckle down and put in the hard graft, yet if he is to avoid being shuffled out of Parkhead he will need a markedly improved second half to the campaign.

Sadly, for McGregor, there can be no progress without casualties.

BEN DELANEY


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