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  • McGregor: We want Hampden to remain a happy hunting ground

    McGregor: We want Hampden to remain a happy hunting ground

    By: Paul Cuddihy on 07 Dec, 2019 12:31

  • HAMPDEN holds many happy memories for Callum McGregor, who has won six domestic trophies at the National Stadium over the past few seasons. Now he’s looking forward to returning to the venue this Sunday when Celtic take on Rangers in the League Cup final, aiming to retain a trophy they’ve won for the past three seasons.

    Neil Lennon’s side go into the match full of confidence, having gone two points clear at the top of the Premiership following the midweek win over Hamilton Accies, but McGregor knows that the cup holders face a difficult test at the weekend against their city rivals.

    “We’ve done really well there recently,” he said. “This group has been successful, so when you go back to these stadiums, you have happy memories and in the build-up to the game, you look forward to it.

    “It’s a cup final, we have to prepare properly, go in with confidence and respect the opponent. We have to perform and earn the right to win.

    “All cup finals are tough and no matter the opponent, they always deserve to get there. This is a one-off game, but we try to take away the hype of the game and focus on the football side of it.

    “Rangers have been doing well and we have to respect that too. You need your big players to stand up to the occasion.

    “I think we’ve got a great squad and that's been demonstrated over the last three or four games. We’ve got loads of strength in depth in the squad, so whoever is asked will step up and do a job.”

    McGregor has played his part in Celtic’s previous three League Cup successes – twice against Aberdeen and once against Motherwell – while he has also netted in a cup final, albeit that was the 2018 Scottish Cup final.

    Having netted in the recent semi-final win over Hibernian, he would be delighted to replicate the feat on Sunday, but so long as the green and white ribbons remain on the trophy, he’ll be happy.

    “As a young kid, you dream of playing and scoring in cup finals,” he said. “Everyone’s focused on preparing properly and when we turn up on Sunday we have to be fully prepared to do the job.

    “I feel good. The more games I play, I feel I’m getting fitter. The more experience you can get on the pitch always helps you. I feel fresh, I feel hungry and I’m looking forward to the game.”

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