Callum McGregor keen to prove his doubters wrong after Germany hammering

‘Celtic captain’ Callum McGregor keen to prove his doubters wrong after Germany hammering…

Celtic captain, Callum McGregor, wants to use the significant criticism of Scotland’s dismal defeat to Germany as fuel to regroup and clinch a place in the Euro 2024 knockout stages.

Euro 2024 hosts, Germany, put on a show for the home crowd in the tournament’s opening game, brushing aside Scotland 5-1 in Munich. It was a dismal evening for Scotland, who came into this game with immense optimism, despite having been off-colour as a team in recent months.

Scotland’s self-inflicted opening day misery

With Scotland lining up in a very narrow 4-5-1 system, their intentions were clearly to restrict and frustrate the Germans. However, this gameplan went up in flames within ten minutes after Wirtz’s opening goal. The damage was done by the interval, with Germany leading by three goals at half time. Scotland were also reduced to ten men when defender, Ryan Porteous, was sent off for a clumsy high tackle on Gundogan, resulting in a penalty kick.

Germany added further gloss close to the scoreline, while a bizarre Antonio Rudiger own goal gifted Scotland a route onto the scoresheet – a feat that most felt they didn’t deserve.

The defeat to hosts, Germany, has certainly made things trickier for Steve Clarke’s men to qualify. The hefty hit to their goal difference won’t help their cause to be at least one of the best third-placed sides. After the first round of group games, the Euros 2024 betting markets had the Tartan Army priced at 3.00 just to get out of Group A, with Germany, Switzerland and Hungary all shorter prices than Scotland with bet365.

McGregor was one of a handful of players heavily criticised by former Scotland icon, Graeme Souness. The former Liverpool and Rangers figure slated “the Celtic captain” for failing twice to prevent Germany’s second goal.

 Jack Hendry of Scotland argues with teammate Callum McGregor after Jamal Musiala of Germany (not pictured) scores his team’s second goal during the UEFA EURO 2024 group stage match between Germany and Scotland at Munich Football Arena on June 14, 2024 . (Photo by Carl Recine/Getty Images)

Souness also laid bare the difference between the two nations, mentioning that the red-carded Porteous plies his club trade for EFL Championship side Watford, while Gundogan – the player he dangerously fouled for a penalty kick – represents FC Barcelona.

In the aftermath of Scotland’s defeat to Germany, McGregor showed tremendous class and poise to respond to the team’s critics after admitting it was a “long bus journey” for the squad back to the squad’s base. He said that although the players are “sore” and smarting from the loss, the onus is on them to show “strength of character” and consign Friday night’s game to the history books.

McGregor added that Scotland must not “back away from the challenge” of qualifying out of Group A. Scotland worked incredibly hard to secure a place at Euro 2024. There’s no guarantee the Tartan Army will be boarding planes in their masses for Euro 2028. McGregor and his teammates need to use the early criticism as motivation to prove the doubters wrong.

The road to the knockouts remains negotiable

It’s not going to be easy for Clarke and Scotland to regroup this fast. Switzerland will have been buoyed by their opening game win over Hungary, which effectively leaves Scotland needing two wins over the Swiss and Hungarians to push for a top-two finish. Alternatively, they could end up needing an emphatic win over Hungary in their final group game try and become one of the top-performing third-placed sides.

This is the one saving grace for Scotland right now. It’s effectively harder not to qualify for the knockout stages than qualify. That’s due to the increase in third-placed teams allowed into the knockouts. Many analysts believe one group stage win could be enough to achieve third place, but Scotland do have some making up to do on the goal difference front.

Experienced Scottish central defender, Grant Hanley, said the team needed to “get back to basics” for the game with Switzerland. In truth, a draw would be seen as a good result for Scotland here, teeing up a must-win showdown against the Hungarians, particularly if the Germans can defeat Hungary in their second group game.

Gamble responsibly.

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1 Comment

  1. The change in format of the euros, means that nearly every country will still be in with a shout of qualifying, even in the last group game?
    The goal difference is a potential problem for Scotland, but that only comes into effect if nothing is gained in the next match, more likely imo?
    As regarding Calmac, there is a fair chance of him being involved in the Scotland set up, for the last time in tournament football imo?
    Should Scotland fail at the euros, then maybe it would be better for him to walk away, especially as treating him as a potential scapegoat is a disgusting act upon Scottish football imo?
    But Calmac is a winner, and knows nothing else within football, and just how many of the Scottish squad can make such a claim?
    My support for the Scottish team has diluted somewhat over the years, with the manner of the support our player’s past and present have given to the national team. Yet what do we get in return from such a corrupt Scottish FA?
    Regardless, I will support our player’s involved, especially from hun scum who contribute nothing towards the national team, and isn’t highlighted enough for my liking?
    Calmac still has plenty to offer ourselves at playing at club level, for a fair while yet, even if he’s getting to a stage where his game time will have to be monitored more closely now imo?
    But he’s always going to be a massive Celtic winner, and still riles me that, that he stayed loyal to his country and doesn’t get the appreciation that he deserves for doing so?
    That’s the effect that hun scum cheerleaders are allowed to have, and backed up by a bias media outlets, to promote such shite without any form of allowing the real truth to be reported upon?
    Calmac knows the score only to well, and hopefully he continues to do with what he has endured throughout his Celtic career, and answer the scum cheerleaders out on the pitch, where he has caused them continued misery for years, even if the thick eejits refused to acknowledge his name?