I CAN reveal to you all this Tuesday morning that Glasgow and Glasgow Accies' Calum MacGregor, one of Scottish rugby's longest serving members and about to reach 35 years old next Saturday, is going to retire at the end of the season.

``It's all getting too much,'' he says, so soon after Glasgow's qualification for Europe. ``It's the commitment for training and trying to blend that in with family life despite the fact my employers are very flexible.''

Calum works for Wiseman's the dairy folks, and that means working eight-to-six in East Kilbride, or if he has to be in Aberdeen for eight, then he leaves Glasgow at five. Manchester is worse.

I sat beside Bill McLaren at the Glasgow versus Reds match on Sunday, and he turned to me as one of MacGregor's kicks spiralled down the touchline. ``That man has always been such a fine footballer,'' said Bill, and I agreed.

Calum and his younger brother, Graeme, are steeped in rugby. Their father, Ian, was capped for Scotland nine times between 1955 and 1957 while playing for Hillhead HSFP and Llanelli. But more than that, I can remember when mini rugby started the MacGregor brothers were used in the very first mini rugby booklet produced by the SRU.

``We were never pushed by our father, more it was always gentle encouragement,'' says Calum. ``We were always referred to as sons of the chairman of selectors or of the former cap and that had its pressures, but they were never adverse.''

If I can put my tuppenceworth in here, too, their father, Ian, has had his critics but I will hear none of it. The man has a near photographic memory and his rugby analysis skills have never been bettered.

Calum played for Glasgow Accies for four seasons, left to work in Aberdeen in 1983 and so had a year playing for Gordonians. He then decided to try for higher honours and, almost unbelievably, came down two nights a week from Aberdeen to Edinburgh to train with and play for Boroughmuir for three years.

``That was some haul,'' says he. ``I would leave work at three, get the train to Edinburgh, and then leave Edinburgh for the train back up and get in at midnight. If it was a district session I would be getting in at three in the morning.''

Yet the elder MacGregor's approach to rugby is legendary at Glasgow Accies where, I remember, he would always be picked, even if he had a broken leg, given the team's need for his services. Despite his wont to work all over Britain, and so hardly train some weeks, his name would always be there on the team sheet.

You will recall last year's epic battle in the Tennents Cup between the Accies and Melrose? Well, for some reason, Calum arrived at Glasgow Accies as the teams ran out. ``He can do only four press-ups,'' claims brother Graeme. Now there is a family where sibling rivalry runs deep. The two of them used to fight like cat and dog, even when they were in the same team. But I tell you, they are both winners. I like that.

``I don't think you can question my dedication to rugby when you take into account the travelling from Aberdeen to Edinburgh. And then I was studying for an MBA while playing rugby, and raising a family,'' he says.

His love of the game has been strengthened by the arrival of European rugby. This retirement had been on the cards at the start of most recent summers, but the Glasgow team, and the fact that Glasgow Accies were promoted to division two, kept his appetite keen.

``Kevin Greene, the Glasgow coach, is the kind of man who makes the players think for themselves, like Ian McGeechan, and I prefer that to the blood-and-thunder approach. I have enjoyed playing for Glasgow this year more than any other. I look around at the young guys in the team and they are keen and excited and that makes me feel good about the game. The players have a belief in it and a desire to win and I like that,'' he says.

His strengths? Vision that few can only dream of, and that vision helped him to attain what he claims was his best moment in club rugby when Glasgow Accies won their own sevens. Add to that superb hands, and a great right foot, and you start to get the picture. Quite simply, he is a natural, and that natural ability extends to his natural running fitness which, despite the few appearances over the years at Glasgow Accies training sessions, will be absolutely unrivalled I can assure you.

Weaknesses? Well, if you want me to carp he could tackle more. But, and I believe this, there will have been very few better rugby playing stand-offs over the years in Scotland.

``John Rutherford was the best player I played against in any position,'' he says of another stand-off. ``I will never forget playing against the man I most admired in rugby. Quite something.''

Sad, then, to say goodbye to a figure who has been in the Scottish club game since 1979 - 18 years, would you believe.

``Listen,'' he says. ``I have enjoyed it. I look at the young guys around me and I see them enjoying it. But my wife Jane has been patient, and I need time with my family now.''

Good player is Calum Macgregor. The game will be poorer without him.