Celtic vice-captain Callum McGregor normally cuts a pretty cool figure with the press.
His enthusiasm is infectious, yet he never gets carried away. He’s a fan who gets to play for the club; a technically gifted midfielder who has worked incredibly hard on his game.
That’s reflected in his media appearances. He’s not a controversial type. As well-worn a sentiment as “doing your talking on the pitch” is, McGregor largely does that.
That’s why his quotes today are so interesting. CalMac is on the warpath, make no mistake.
“It can be devastating”; Celtic talisman in no mood to lose
Speaking to the Scottish Sun, McGregor was firm in his convictions ahead of the trip to Ibrox:
“When you suffer defeat in these games, it can be devastating. You carry that with you until you play them the next time.
“So it’s definitely something we’ll be trying to put right. We need a positive result out of the game.
“But we’re in good form, so we have to fancy ourselves to go there and give them problems.
“They are tough games against Rangers and they’ve shown this season how well organised they are. We have to find a way to disorganise them.”
The Celtic midfielder was keen to remind supporters of both sides the context of Celtic’s last match against Rangers.
“There are no excuses when you lose this type of game.
“But when you step back and consider the bodies we had missing for the last derby, you can appreciate the effect it had.
“But that was a different Celtic team. The challenge for us is to do a whole lot better on Saturday.”
McGregor is right: this is a very different match
Celtic have zero excuses for how gutless our last Glasgow Derby showing was. Still, consider the Bhoys’ line-up from the October meeting (BBC).
It’s been largely ignored in the context of the season, but Klimala started up front by himself that day. Stephen Welsh was in the side, as was Olivier Ntcham, who has barely featured in recent matches.
Celtic were in the depths of the doomed 3-5-2 experiment at that point, but Lenny seems to have a settled tactic and should be looking to utilise it today.
Yes, Rangers are a very good side. However, Celtic have the tools to unsettle Gerrard’s charges. Generally speaking, this is a very similar squad to 19-20, a season where the Bhoys were walking the league before it was called early due to Covid-19.
Christopher Jullien and James Forrest are the only absentees for today’s match, compared to vast swathes of the squad missing in October. Sure, there were no excuses for how toothless Celtic were in the 2-0 defeat earlier this season.
Still, the Bhoys’ improved form and the availability of most of Lennon’s squad mean that today needs to be a very different prospect.
With a motivated McGregor leading the charge, everyone of a Celtic persuasion is hoping for a positive result.