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Playing Away Helps Home Chances
The chance to shine sometimes comes when you are out of the spotlight
Callum McGregor is hoping to collect his first under 21 cap for Scotland against Slovakia tonight in Paisley in recognition of his progress both on and off the pitch since being sent to Nott County by Celtic on loan. The Parkhead side hope that the move will prepare McGregor for life as a fully-fledged first-team player on his return. Things looks to be heading in the right directions so far with six goals scored in his first 12 games for the Sky Bet League One side. However, McGregor admits he has had to mature quickly after moving away from Glasgow for the first time.He said: "It was a bit of a shock to the system when I moved south. I've been at Celtic since I was 10 years old. It was a massive change but it has paid off so far. It was time for a change and for me to grow up. I've had to handle it. I'm living away from my family and friends but I've had to toughen up and deal with it. I've got a flat in the city centre. I'm now living on my own and making my own meals. My cooking isn't bad and the flat is tidy enough - my mum is a wee bit shocked by it all. League One in England is a lot more competitive, a lot more physical than the youth leagues in Scotland. But if you want to play down there, you have just got to toughen up and handle it. In the youth leagues, you are always controlling the game as most teams just come and sit in against us at Celtic. But at Notts County there is a lot more to fight for. It's man's football and points at stake."County put McGregor on their radar when he scored Celtic's winning goal in their pre-season friendly with Brentford. He has repaid their faith in them with a string impressive displays, most recently scoring a double in Saturday's 4-0 win over Crewe. That was Chris Kiwomya's side's second win in three games but came after they lost six of their first seven in the league. McGregor admits it has been a tough start for his new side but now wants to carry his impressive form onto the international stage as he waits to hear if he will be given his first opportunity to play for the Under-21s in tonight's Euro 2015 qualifier in Paisley. McGregor said: "It's been tough to begin with at Notts County. I scored on my debut and was flying after that. But the first six or seven league games were really tough against really good sides. I think six of our first eight games were against sides from the top six. But for me it was always about trying to find my feet as quickly as possible. Recently we have had some good performances so hopefully our luck has turned and we can go and get some more results. Personally, I think I've improved massively. I went down with fresh ears and tried listening to all the guys who are more experienced than I am. I really wanted to do well so I have applied myself in training. Now I'd love to get my first cap for the Under-21s. I've shown from the start of the season that I can score goals and link the play. I like to get at defenders and get shots away and hopefully I can do that if I'm selected to play against Slovakia on Thursday."
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