Callum McGregor: Scotland keeping their feet on the ground despite Holland draw

Callum McGregor says Scotland are not getting carried away after Wednesday's Dutch draw
Callum McGregor says Scotland are not getting carried away after Wednesday's Dutch draw (PA Wire)
15:00pm, Fri 04 Jun 2021
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Callum McGregor has warned the Tartan Army not to get drunk on Dutch courage as he insisted Scotland cannot get carried away with Wednesday’s sizzling Algarve display.

Steve Clarke’s Covid-hit squad received a major shot in the arm ahead of Euro 2020 by claiming an encouraging 2-2 draw with Holland on Portugal’s southern coast.

The result has sent expectation levels soaring back home, with fans now daring to believe they have a team capable of battling past the Czech Republic, England and Croatia to reach the knock-out rounds.

But Celtic ace McGregor is fully aware the Scots are novices when it comes to big tournament action, having spent 23 years in the international wilderness.

And while the Parkhead midfielder is delighted to see the country unified in their belief Clarke’s men can reach new heights, he is keeping his feet firmly on the ground.

“We’re here to push and get results like that against the so-called better nations,” said McGregor. “So Wednesday showed the boys that we belong at this level and there’s no reason why we can’t get more results like that.

“There’s nothing wrong with having confidence and belief in the group. On the outside, whether it be media or supporters, we want everybody to have that feelgood factor.

“But it’s been such a long time since we’ve qualified that we’re just enjoying that first step.

“We’ve enjoyed working at this level and it’s our job as a group – players, manager and coaches – that we always try to get better.

Scotland impressed against Holland (AP)

“Results like Wednesday only help, but we try to take one game at a time and keep our feet on the ground.”

McGregor is doing his best to stay calm as the Scots inch closer to their first major competition since the 1998 World Cup.

But he admits it is hard not to get swept up as Euros fever grips the nation.

He said: “There’s a real positive energy behind the team with it being the first time in a long time since we’ve qualified.

“People are quite rightly backing the team and getting behind us. We can feel that positive energy and in football, momentum and positivity can carry you a long way.

“As players, we’re here to work hard, do everything we can to help the team. So along with that and some positive energy then who knows what can happen.

“But we go into the games one at a time and take them from there.”

While Wednesday’s impressive draw – which would have ended in victory had Memphis Depay not been allowed to level late on with his controversial free-kick – has the Tartan Army dreaming of a summer to remember, there was also a dampener put on the camp mood with this week’s Covid scare.

John Fleck remains in quarantine after testing positive while six players sat out the Dutch clash as SFA chiefs took no chances with the risk of a wider outbreak.

But McGregor is pleased to see the squad pulling together in the face of adversity as they now turn their attention to Sunday’s final work-out against Luxembourg.

“Obviously when you lose five or six players it has an effect on the numbers in the group,” he said. “But everyone who went out on the pitch the other night was trying to get a result for the guys left behind.

“Do we worry about missing games at the Euros because of Covid? Yes, that’s at the back of our minds as well but we stick to the protocols as best we can and it’s served us well so far, so we just stay vigilant and keep our distance where possible and try to eliminate as much of the risk.

“Hopefully, when we get to the tournament everybody’s in good health and ready to go.

“We’ve tried to keep in touch with John via texts and the boys have been shouting up at his balcony. It’s difficult for him. He’s going to be in that room for a wee while and we try to keep him included and we hope he can rejoin the group soon.”

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