Callum McGregor wants to go on for as long as he can at Celtic

The Scotland international is still fuelled by hunger and ambition as he approaches his 30th birthday.

Callum McGregor wants to go on for as long as he can at Celtic SNS Group

Callum McGregor insists he has plenty more to give to the Celtic cause as he approaches a landmark birthday.

The Hoops captain came through the youth ranks at Parkhead and made his debut in a Champions League qualifier against KR Reykjavik in July 2014, when he scored the only goal of the game in Iceland.

A success-laden career may be closer to the end than the beginning but the Scotland midfielder is still fuelled by hunger and ambition.

Ahead of the cinch Premiership clash with Rangers at Parkhead on Saturday, he was asked in a Celtic TV interview if, with his 30th birthday looming on June 14, he was looking post-career.

“No, no, just trying to forget about it to be honest,” he said.

“I feel good, physically, mentally. They say that when you get to your late 20s/early 30s that’s the prime of your career.

“The way that I try to live my life and the importance of football, that’s what I want to do, I want to do it for many years. So it is important that you continue to look after yourself in the right way.

“Once you get over that 30 mark, everyone is looking at you, ‘how is he physically, how is he looking?’ so I think it is important to send a strong message at that point as well, that you keep going and you are hungry for more.

“I want to go for as long as I can. As long as I’m still helping the team and I still feel good physically and mentally.

“I’ve been doing it for a long time but it goes by so quickly. It feels like only yesterday when I made my debut.

“At some point, somebody is going to tap me on the shoulder and say, ‘that’s you finished’ and I’m going to miss it.

“So I want to give absolutely everything I’ve got in the tank between now and then.”

Celtic are nine points ahead of Rangers and on their way to retaining the title.

McGregor believes a calm head is the best way to approach the fixture which will be played in front of around 60,000 Hoops fans, with no Rangers supporters in attendance.

He said: “We know it is a big fixture and we know the importance of it to the supporters but we have to treat the game the same as any other in terms of preparation.

“I feel we have a good template, training model and the way we want to play. It is trusting the process and stay calm.

“In sport, emotion is key but too much emotion can cloud your judgement, it can cloud what you see on the day in terms of the pictures on the pitch and the way that we want to play the games.

“So, of course, you want to bring that passion, competitive edge, energy and tempo, all these things that you need in big derby games but you have to stay calm and see the pictures and play the game how we want it to look and I feel that when we do that, it gives you the best chance of success.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code