As a Celtic player, Neil Lennon had the perfect foil in Paul Lambert.
As the Hoops manager, he feels he has the modern-day equivalent in Callum McGregor.
“Callum is playing out of his skin. He has been absolutely outstanding this season,” said Lennon of the player he expects to succeed Scott Brown as club captain.
“His performance at Motherwell last Wednesday was simply breathtaking at times.
“His goal was great. But his all-round game, his footwork, his reading of the game and his positional sense, were top-class.
“He is a little bit underrated because other people seem to hog the headlines. But I know that role very well, and I know how well he does it. He is such an important player for us.
“From my own time playing, I’d compare him to Paul Lambert. They are similar in terms of consistency and reliability.
“We were an older group, but the hunger to succeed is there in these young ones and Callum is one who I know a lot of the players look up to.
“Because of that, I’d think he could be a captain-in-waiting. He is quiet as an individual but when it comes to football, he talks and uses his actions as words.
“It is not just the players – the coaches love him. He is just so clever. Whatever you ask him to do tactically, he understands it more or less straightaway.
“I’d say he’d be a leading contender to replace Scott. He looks like a natural successor. The relationship they have on and off the pitch is almost telepathic now.
“The amount of games Callum plays and his fitness levels have improved immensely over the last couple of years. He is in great condition and is a great example to any young player of how to look after yourself professionally away from football and the attitude you have to have for your training and playing.
“We really were delighted to tie him down on a long-term contract and I think he’s enjoying it as well.”
All available evidence would suggest he certainly is. Though not to the extent where he will not appreciate a rest for the trip to face Clyde in the Scottish Cup this afternoon.
With the Hoops still in the hunt for three trophies, Lennon knows he has to box clever when the opportunity presents itself and McGregor would look a prime candidate for a breather for today’s Scottish Cup tie with Clyde – even if that only means watching on from the substitutes’ bench.
“We will look to make changes. But not too many,” said the Celtic manager, conceding that defending the knock-out competition came behind the title in terms of his
“We want to be strong, and make sure we negotiate the tie, but a few may need a rest. It is something to consider.
“Callum is still young enough to be able to handle 60-game-plus seasons, but there will be times when he might have to come off it a little bit and recover.
“We tried to do that with one of the games. We left him out of the Estonia trip, but I think that is the only one he has missed.
“Going forward, with the amount of big games coming up, that will be difficult to do because he is so important for us.
“What helps is that there are some players who need to play. Ryan Christie has only had a few half-hours. But he is fully fit now and he will definitely come into our thinking for the game.
“We are getting a few back, too. Mohamed Elyounoussi is not a million miles away now, likewise Tom Rogic, although he has a wee problem with his knee where it flares up, so we have to take that into consideration.
“As I say, I don’t want to make too many changes, although Boli Bolingoli is also back in the squad and Jeremie Frimpong and Nir Bitton are on the way back, which is great.
“Leigh Griffiths, who is improving all the time at the minute, will absolutely be in my thoughts.
“I was really pleased with his performance against Motherwell. He has just got to continue in the same vein and keep his form and consistency going.”