Fight Night - Holm v VieiraMay 21 LIVE
Callum McGregor calls for calm heads as Celtic face title rivals Rangers
Victory on Sunday would take Celtic nine points clear of their city rivals.
Callum McGregor has urged his Celtic colleagues to keep cool heads as they bid to avenge their recent Scottish Cup semi-final defeat by Rangers on Sunday and place one hand on the cinch Premiership trophy.
The final Glasgow derby takes place at Parkhead on Sunday, just a fortnight after the Ibrox side edged out the Hoops 2-1 following extra-time in the last-four showdown at Hampden.
Celtic, however, have a chance to banish that disappointment as victory on Sunday would take them nine points clear of their city rivals with a superior goal difference and only three games to play.
Asked if the Hoops players already viewed themselves as title winners, captain McGregor cautioned: “No, no. We can’t think like that or speak like that. We understand there’s a few games to go and we understand the meaning of the game at the weekend.
“We can take a huge step towards it if we perform well and get a victory. That’s the full focus. The reason we’ve been successful is we’ve taken each game as it’s come and given 100 per cent in that game. That’s what we’ll do at the weekend.
“Obviously it’s a huge game. But we also have to stay calm and commit to the way we want to play. We didn’t do ourselves justice in the semi-final, so it’s as much about trying to rectify that. If we do that and put in a strong performance, everyone else will have a great day.”
With the two Glasgow sides separated by just six points, McGregor is relishing the most closely-contested title race since he broke into the Celtic first team in the 2014/15 campaign at a time when Rangers were in the lower leagues.
“I would say it is (as close as the two teams have been),” he said. “Both teams are going really well. Rangers are going really well in Europe as well, which shows you they level they’re at.
“And that in turn shows the level we’re at and the level we’re reaching. It’s really exciting for Scottish football. These kind of title races are always good for the product of Scottish football.”
McGregor was thrilled to be one of four men nominated for the PFA Scotland Premiership Player of the Year award on Wednesday. Team-mate Tom Rogic is also in the running, along with Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon and Ross County winger Regan Charles-Cook.
“There are six (Celtic) players in the team of the year as well which shows the level the boys have been playing at,” he said. “It’s great testament to them. The guys in the other teams have looked at that and seen we’re doing something right.
“It’s always nice to be recognised by your peers. Our boys have been fantastic and hopefully we can continue that.”