CALLUM McGREGOR and his Celtic team-mates aim to play it cool as they plot a SIXTEENTH successive victory on Saturday.

The influential 29-year-old skipper knows a win over Michael Beale’s Ibrox visitors to the east end of the city will propel the champions 12 points ahead with only seven games to play as they zero in on their second title in a row – and their eleventh in 12 glorious years.

The Hoops have dropped only five points in a remarkable league crusade – the inexplicable 2-0 flop to St Mirren in Paisley in September and the 2-2 stalemate in Govan at the start of 2023.

FIELD OF DREAMS…Callum McGregor and his Celtic team-mates celebrate their League Cup Final success at Hampden in February.

Those are the only blemishes in 30 encounters that kicked off with a 2-0 triumph over Aberdeen on a gloriously sunny afternoon at Parkhead on Flag Day at the end of July and travelled all the way through to an identcal success over Ross County in Dingwall on Sunday.

Ange Postecoglou’s men have rarely flinched and McGregor fully intends to be celebrating along with the Celtic contingent after the weekend’s 12.30pm confrontation.

The inspirational onfield leader said: “We know it’s a big fixture, we know the importance of the fixture in terms of the supporters and what it means to them, what it means to everyone inside the building and everybody inside the club, but we have to treat the game like any other game in terms of preparation.

“What we do going into the match, it’s always the same and we feel like we have a good template in terms of the training model and the way that we want to play.

BEST FOOT FORWARD…Callum McGregor fires a pass beyond the lunging John Lundstram.

“I think if we can stay calm and bring all of these things to the game, then you have more chance of success than not.

“So, it’s just about trusting the process, following that which has got you success previously and just staying calm and looking forward to the game.”

McGregor, speaking to Celtic TV, continued: “In sport, obviously emotion is key, but too much emotion can cloud your judgement.

“It can cloud what you see on the day, what you see in terms of the pictures on the pitch that we look for in the way that we want to play the games.

“So, of course, you have to bring that energy, passion, tempo and all these things in big derby games that you need – competitive edge – all these things that you need.”

The Scotland international anchorman added: “You have to stay calm, you have to see the pictures and play the game that we want, how we want the game to look and I feel that when we do that, then that gives you the best chance of success.

“Of course, you have to find the right balance of all the competitive stuff, but, in the main you have to be calm, you have to be clear-headed and see what you are trying to achieve on the pitch.”

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