How Callum McGregor flawlessly transitioned into role of Celtic captain

Earlier this season, Callum McGregor made his 400th appearance for Celtic, but how far can Ange’s captain take his appearance haul? 

Since making his debut, aged 21, McGregor has completed 8 full campaigns (the current season being his 9th), averaging 47 appearances-per-season. In the last 6 seasons since becoming a more regular first-choice, he has averaged 52 games, with no signs of slowing down. Only 12 players have made 500+ appearances for Celtic, with McGregor and James Forrest (464) from the current side heading towards the exclusive 500 Club.

There are no guarantees that McGregor will continue at the rate of his last 6 seasons, granted, but if he avoids injury, transfer (currently unthinkable), or falling out of favour (highly unlikely), then how many more appearances could he make?

There is no doubt that Callum McGregor is a modern-day legend of Celtic, and one who will join a pantheon of greats to have made 500 or more appearances for the club.

Scott Brown was the most recent addition to the 500 Club. 22 when he made his Celtic debut, Brown went on to make 619 appearances, the last at the age of 35. Brown will forever be regarded as one of Celtic’s most successful captains. As well as hitting 600+ games in the hoops, Brown’s trophy-laden career at Celtic Park was a remarkable success. At Celtic, Brown would go on to win ten Scottish Premiership titles, six Scottish Cups and six League Cups. The former Scottish international captained the club from 2010 to 2021. Once Brown moved on, Callum McGregor was the natural choice to take on the role of club captain.

To say that McGregor has taken to the captaincy role well would be an understatement. The current Celtic skipper is certainly following in his predecessor’s footsteps and is only four trophies away from exceeding Scott Brown and seven away from becoming the most decorated player in Celtic’s history. Bobby Lennox currently holds the record with 25 gongs.

If McGregor continues at his current rate of appearances-per-season, he’ll surpass his ex-team-mate in season 2026/27, at the age of 33. But, in order to surpass the ultimate leader, Billy McNeill, McGregor would need to continue racking up 52 appearances every season until he is 36 (2029/30). Is this likely? With Callum McGregor, anything is possible.


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