CALLUM McGregor has revealed how living a monastic lifestyle away from football has helped him to perform so consistently for both Celtic and Scotland.

McGregor has become one of the most exciting players in the country in the last few seasons, helped the Parkhead club enjoy enormous success both at home and abroad and established himself as a regular starter in the national team.

However, the 26-year-old midfielder, who has been away with Celtic on their winter training camp in Dubai this week, has admitted that away from training and games he is fairly dull.

“I am pretty much a hermit,” said McGregor. “I have a good routine now and after training I might go and meet some of my friends or my mum or anyone who’ll listen to me talk about football for a few hours.

“We’ll meet for a coffee or a chat, but after that I go and get my shopping on the way home and that’ll be me home from about four o’clock every day. I’ll cook my food, but apart from that I just rest up.

“I laugh about this quite a lot, actually, that I lead a pretty boring life. For nine or ten months of the year you’re so professional you’re probably not that much fun to be around.

“There is a glamorous side to being a footballer, but, more than anything, it’s hard work and a lot of sacrifice. To me it’s definitely worth it when you get that time off and you get to go nice holidays. If you’re built that way you enjoy it all.”

McGregor admitted, though, that he uses his nights in front of the box to study how the top teams, and players in his position, perform in the hope of picking up ideas about how to improve further.

“I’ll watch anything, to be honest, but these days there’s football on the TV every night so that suits me,” he said. "Generally, I’ll be at home watching a game. Like I say, I’m pretty boring!

“I watch all the games when they’re on - certainly in the last few years too I watch football a bit differently to how I used to I try and take in as much as I can because you’re always trying to learn.

“In the last three or four years I feel I’ve got to the stage in my life where it’s pretty much football 24/7. To be as good as you can be you need to live that life.”

McGregor added: “There’s one thing I do when I watch football. I watch top, top guys and how they move to where the space is. You are constantly watching and trying to learn.

“I’ve no-one specific where I’d say I’m going to watch him, it’s just the top teams. You watch Champions League and games like Real Madrid and PSG. There is so much quality on show that you just take it in and understand how good the standard is.

“You watch these guys like Verratti. (Italy and PSG player Marco). They never, ever take more than two or three touches in the middle of the pitch and that’s how the ball moves so quickly. We have to keep the game ticking over for the rest of the guys to get it to the forward players and then let them go and do their stuff.

“When you watch these top European teams, it’s one or two touch in the middle of the pitch and you can tell the difference when we step up to Europa League and Champions League. That’s where we have to get to.

“That’s the message from our coaching staff. The quicker the ball moves, the harder it is for an opponent to get close to you. The Europa League stuff has been good this season. We seem to have taken things on and getting points and wins against top teams, so it’s showing a progression to our game.”