Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou admits the club and squad will take great pride and belief from skipper Callum McGregor’s role in downing Spain.
McGregor won his 50th cap in Scotland’s 3-0 win over Cyprus last Saturday before impressing again in the heart of the midfield as Steve Clarke’s side pulled off a shock 2-0 Hampden win in the Euro 2024 qualifiers.
Postecoglou said: “I’m pleased for Callum firstly because I know how much it means for him to play for his country.
“As much as he is the captain of our club and the leader of our club, he just cherishes his national team representation.
“It was a big night for him, a big night for the team and a big night for the whole nation, I guess.
“It’s great because it builds belief in the whole group.
“I don’t think there is any doubt that Callum can perform at those levels but for him to do it with his national team is special.
“So you take great pride in that and we take great pride as a football club as well because he is our leader and he represents us on the national stage.
“I thought he was outstanding in both games, he played every minute.
“You saw in the last couple of minutes in the second game, he just has this real ability and determination to get every ounce out of his body, and that’s what he does every time he plays.”
McGregor sprinted down the right touchline to ease the pressure on his team deep into stoppage-time and hurdled a challenge before setting up Lawrence Shankland for a shooting chance.
If the watching Postecoglou had any doubt about how the 29-year-old was bearing up after playing two full games for his country, it would have been dispelled there and then.
But the Celtic manager had no such fears over the fitness of the midfielder.
“I would have preferred the ref blew full-time just before that, I thought the time was already up so I wasn’t sure why he was carrying on,” he said.
“But it’s no surprise. With other players who go into the national team window, you wonder how much they will play. But there is never any doubt that Callum will play all the time.
“He is, knock on wood, a pretty resilient individual, and he wants that, he thrives on that.
“If you kept him out or tried to rest him, I don’t think it would do him any good because he is just geared to always performing, and always performing at the highest level.
“So it didn’t surprise me that he was the one, in that last minute, who was still driving forward and driving the team forward.
“It just epitomises the person he is as much as the player.”
McGregor will be back in cinch Premiership action when Celtic face Ross County in Dingwall on Sunday but others will miss out as a result of their international duties.
Giving a team news update, Postecoglou said: “The ones who are definitely out, James Forrest is still a fair bit off. Tony Ralston and Liel Abada picked up injuries with their national teams and it’s fair to say they will be a couple of weeks.
“Reo (Hatate) and Aaron (Mooy) are back in training but we will assess it on Saturday before we make a decision.
“I would suggest if it’s not this weekend, that they will probably be right for next weekend, but we will just see how they go.
“Everyone else is okay.”
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