Paul Lambert reckons Callum McGregor can follow an example of Paul McStay and quietly use his talents to lead Celtic into the Ange Postecoglou era.

The 28-year-old is currently resting up following his efforts at Euro 2020 when he scored his country’s only goal of the campaign in the final Group D encounter against Croatia.

McGregor was also a stand-out performer in the terrific display at Wembley which earned his team their solitary section point from England.

However, when the domestic and Champions League action gets going again at Celtic under the club’s new Australian boss, the midfielder will be back at the heart of the mix.

And Lambert, who wore the armband with distinction during his successful spell in Glasgow’s east end, believes McGregor has all the attributes to be at the front of the gaffer’s line.

Postecoglou needs to identify a skipper in the coming weeks for his new-look squad.

Paul McStay models the 1995 away shirt

Having served as vice-captain under Scott Brown before his departure to Aberdeen and having lifted a host of honours as well as starring for Scotland, McGregor has the respect of his dressing room.

The midfield ace appears a very different style of on-field captain than Brown.

While the new Pittodrie player-coach used an aggressive style of in-your-face leadership, his sidekick was a quieter accomplice.

Brown made it crystal clear before his departure that McGregor had the voice required in the dressing room when needed and would be perfect for the role.

Lambert agrees a captain does not have to snap and snarl at team-mates or opponents to do the job efficiently as he looked back at some of his old Borussia Dortmund colleagues and past Parkhead leaders such as McStay who McGregor is more moulded upon.

He said: “You don’t need to be an aggressive player or personality for that role. If your ability is high, people tend to rate you and there is a lot of respect there.

“Paul McStay was a famous captain. The word legend gets bandied about too often but he was. He was brilliant. Perhaps he was a quieter guy, but you can bet Paul had a bit of devilment in him on the pitch. All top players have it.


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“In McStay, you are talking about a proper captain. Maybe in the wrong era in terms of not winning what his ability should have let him win. But I put him up there in the class with some outstanding Celtic captains.

“I played with guys at Borussia Dortmund who had it. Matthias Sammer, Paulo Sousa, Michael Zorc.

“All of those guys were not shouters. But they were world-class players and led by example.

“At Celtic, we had strong guys and big characters, but we were never really aggressive towards each other.

“Of course, people would get singled out if things weren’t going well and people hadn’t done their jobs, but it’s ability that earns you respect above all else if you have that in your dressing room.

“It’s important that the new guys who can come into the club have respect for him and I’d imagine that would be a given.

“Callum is at an age now where he might not even have reached his peak, but the responsibility becomes more on him all of the time because he’s not classed as a young player anymore and he’s experienced.

“What you see is a good midfielder who can do most things and it’s important for Celtic to keep a hold of him.

“There are maybe defensive aspects which could be improved upon in certain situations but he can do the majority of important things that you want to see in a midfielder.

“Pass it, keep the ball and, as you saw against Croatia and for Celtic many times, score an important goal at a crucial time.

“One thing about being the captain of Celtic is that you have that responsibility on your shoulders.

“Callum already has experience of leading the group when Scott wasn’t playing, so he’ll know the responsibility and he knows the club.”

McGregor will return to Parkhead following his Euros break in fine fettle having made a big contribution to the Scotland cause.

After a starring display in the play-off win against Serbia which booked the ticket, he was a surprise omission from the starting line-up for the opener against the Czechs.

However, McGregor proved his talents when finally getting the opportunity for Steve Clarke’s troops on the big stage and Lambert said: “There were a couple of games that I saw before the end of the season at Celtic where his form was probably suffering because the team wasn’t doing so well. That can happen.

“But going away with the national team to a major tournament can pick you up again. He did really well.”