Celtic stalwart Callum McGregor has been given a rare breather by Neil Lennon for tonight’s Europa League clash away to CFR Cluj.
The Daily Record reported quotes from the Hoops boss saying that the 26-year-old has not travelled with the squad to Romania for their concluding Europa League group fixture, with the Scottish champions already confirmed as group winners.
Lennon confirmed that Odsonne Edouard, Fraser Forster, Scott Brown, Ryan Christie and Tom Rogic have also stayed behind in Glasgow to remain fresh for Sunday’s Premiership encounter against Hibernian. [via Daily Record]
If there is one player at Celtic who has earned a night off and who ought to benefit from a rest, it is McGregor.
The attacking midfielder has played the most football out of anyone in Lennon’s squad so far this season, with 2,766 minutes of action for the Hoops already in the current campaign. [via TransferMarkt]
He has played in all but one of their 32 matches thus far in 2019/20, missing only the second leg of their Champions League qualifier against Nomme Kalju after they were 5-0 up from the first leg. [via TransferMarkt]
Indeed, McGregor has started all 31 matches in which he has featured this term and incredibly has played the full game in 28 of those, with his shortest appearance clocking in at 62 minutes against Partick Thistle in the Betfred Cup. [via TransferMarkt]
In addition to his Celtic game-time, the 26-year-old has also started each of Scotland’s six Euro 2020 qualifiers since the beginning of the club season, playing a full match in four of those and featuring for 498 minutes out of a possible 540 in those games. [via TransferMarkt]
Such has been McGregor’s stamina that Alan Hutton likened him to “the Energizer bunny” when speaking to Football Insider.
With fellow attacking midfielders Christie and Rogic also omitted from the squad for tonight, Olivier Ntcham could be deployed in that role, having started in a similar position seven times already this season (as per TransferMarkt).
With five goals and three assists from his 31 appearances this term, McGregor has regularly come to the fore for Celtic and has very much earned his night off.
Lennon clearly trusts him enormously to rarely ever substitute him, let alone leave him out of the team, and picking up an injury or suspension in an inconsequential match in Romania would have been a huge source of frustration for player and manager.
Celtic fans, do you agree with the decision to leave McGregor out of the squad for tonight? Share your views in the comments section below!
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