CALLUM McGREGOR says he is ready, willing and able to further swell Scotland’s Celtic contingent.
Of the 11 starters against Slovenia last month, six – Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney, Scott Brown, Stuart Armstrong, James Forrest and Leigh Griffiths – were Hoops players.
Acknowledging his club’s contribution, Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers insisted it could be even greater when highlighting McGregor’s claim for a recall.
He drew comparisons with Joe Allen, who he had under his charge at Liverpool and Swansea.
It is a suggestion which more than finds favour with his player.
“I would feel better equipped to go back into the Scotland squad now. Definitely,” said the 23-year-old.
“When I was called up for the Germany game three years ago, I’d only played seven or eight games for Celtic, so it came pretty quickly in my career.
“I tried to take it all in my stride but, looking back with the benefit of hindsight, maybe it was a bit too early for me.
“Back then, I’d come off the back of a good loan move at Notts County, and I started the season scoring goals.
“But at Celtic, you have to play with a lot more responsibility to your game. You need to be part of a team and I have learned a lot on that side of it.
“Since then, I have picked up a lot more experience.
“I have gone through a lot – the ups and downs, the Champions League games – and I feel like I have learned a lot from the manager this season.
“I’m 23 now, and I feel that in the last four or five months, I am more of an established part of the squad.
“I’ve played a lot of games and in some big ones at that, so I don’t feel like a young player coming through now.”
With his life at club level sorted, the missing piece of the jigsaw is to step up and play his part for his country.
“Playing for Scotland is still an ambition of mine. It would be an honour,” said McGregor.
“The country has a lot of midfielders. You could name a full squad of them.
“But it’s up to me to keep doing well, then hopefully the call will come.
“Gordon Strachan spoke to me about the Champions League back then and said that qualifying for the group stages would be the next step for me.
“So I have been on the right track.”