Jackie McNamara has claimed that Celtic’s Callum McGregor is one of the best midfielders in Scotland but has not ruled out Neil Lennon playing him at left-back again in the future.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Hoops and Scotland star insists that the 26-year-old, who used to operate as a winger before being moved into the middle of the park, was a big absentee for the Bhoys in their Champions League qualifier against CFR Cluj.
The Scotland international was surprisingly moved to left-back in their 4-3 defeat to the Romanian side, with natural full-back Boli Bolingoli dropping to the bench.
McNamara insists it will not have been an easy decision for Lennon to put McGregor into a defensive role and says it might not be the last time it happens, regardless of his importance in the middle.
“He’s a massive loss, to take him out of midfield, and Neil knows that – he’s done it for a reason and it’s the fallout from that,” McNamara told Football Insider.
“Had Celtic won the game, had Scott not handballed it, had the keeper not dropped it when we’re 3-2 people, you go: ‘We got through.’ It’s the fallout because it’s not happened.
“You never say never but Neil knows and everybody else knows that Callum is one the best midfielders in the country. I don’t think it’s a decision which has been taken lightly, he’s done what he’s done to try get through the tie. If it doesn’t go right it’s open to scrutiny.”
McGregor has missed just one game for the Hoops this season, having been moved back to the middle of the park for the clash against Dunfermline Athletic.
He played a total of 59 games across all competitions last season, totalling over 5,000 minutes of action.