Celtic captain Callum McGregor admits last season’s Scottish Cup defeat to Rangers still rankles – and plans to put that right in Sunday’s Viaplay Cup final.
Ange Postecoglou’s side finished the season as Premiership champions and League Cup winners but a defeat to Rangers at Hampden in the semi-final was a disappointment.
McGregor says that was a low point in an otherwise rewarding season but believes it can give some extra motivation.
“When you lose a big game like that, of course it hurts you and it stays with you probably for the rest of your career, the rest of your life,” the Celtic skipper said.
“But it’s important that when you get a chance to try and rectify that, you give absolutely everything to put that right and, probably most importantly, to put it right for the supporters as well.
“So of course we have that added motivation that they got one over us last time at Hampden and we will try and fix that.
“But the only way to fix that is to stay calm and focused on what we have been doing, approach the game in the right way, and come Sunday we have to turn up and do all the right things to win the game.”
Asked what the right things are, and what qualities are needed, to ensure success in the big games, the experienced midfielder said it wasn’t just one factor.
“I think you need to have a lot a lot of different things to succeed in a cup final,” McGregor said.
“Obviously you have to play well, you need to have a bit of luck as well, but the main thing for us is just to stay focused and continue doing what we’ve been doing.
“The team’s in good rhythm and good form and if we bring that to the game, along with our other qualities and concentration, then I think we’ll be okay.”
When the sides met in January, Celtic fought back to secure a 2-2 draw and both sides have won all their games since. McGregor says that run of results has Celtic in a good place ahead of the final.
“We’re in good momentum,” he said. “We’ve had a few boys join us since.
“That was Alistair Johnston’s first game and he’s settled in to the system really well.
“Our front guys have been in good form scoring a lot of goals, and we’ve not been conceding a lot of goals. So we’ve been really cohesive and obviously that’s the best preparation we can have heading in to a game like this.
“We trust ourselves, we trust the manager, we trust in what we are doing and if we put all those things together hopefully we can have a successful afternoon.”