THE players around Callum McGregor in the Celtic team may change from season to season, and sometimes even more frequently than that, but the outcomes remain remarkably consistent.

And according to the Celtic captain, that uncanny habit they have of getting to cup finals and lifting trophies is built on the everyday habits he is in charge of driving into the squad.

Whether the players coming into the Celtic changing room hail from Yokohama or Yoker, they are soon left in no doubt over what is expected from them, and the standards that must be met if they are to fill out the jersey.

What is expected at the end of it all is that they will deliver silverware to the club, and as they gear up for the League Cup semi-final against Kilmarnock at Hampden tomorrow evening, McGregor was keen to send them a reminder of their responsibilities as Celtic players.

“If someone comes in the door and you say it’s a big club then they look about and say, well obviously it is a big club, look at the size of the stadium and look at the fanbase,” McGregor said.

“But it is about your behaviour every day and what you give to the club, what you give to your position in the club and living to that standard every single day. How you live your life, how you come to the training ground, how you prepare for training, how you perform in training, and it’s good habits.

“When you see 15,16,17 players with good habits you think: ‘I need to get on board here’. That’s the way to set the standard. Of course, when they come in, they see the size of the club but it’s then about how we make them successful and how do we integrate them into the club. That’s the job of the senior players.  

“Last season included, there has been a lot of change. And the ones that had been there, it was obviously our responsibility to settle in the new guys that have come in and teach them and make them understand what the club’s been about. And what you need to give to the position when you are in it.

“And now we have a bigger group of players who have been here for a year, they now understand it as well. So, anyone new that comes in straightaway fits into that culture and environment and behaviour and all those things that it takes to be a Celtic player.

“Our responsibility as always when new players come in is to teach them all about what it takes to play for Celtic. 

“It is vital. Because this is such a big club, and you have to win. Your responsibility is to win games and win trophies. If you come in and you don’t have the right mindset, then you won’t be a success. “It is up to the guys who have been there and tasted that to make the group understand that that is what is required.”

McGregor was on the receiving end of such harsh lessons himself of course when he broke into the first-team squad, and he thinks the ‘sink or swim’ environment is key to Celtic’s success.

“There was a group of senior players at the time,” he said. “Scott Brown was big on that, Charlie Mulgrew was big on it, previous to that Neil Lennon was big on it. 

“So, it has been there since long before I was there and there is a conveyor belt of, ‘you need to set the standard.’ 

“And the new boys come in and do the same and when they leave the next group do it.

“It has been there since long before I was there, and it will be there long after I’m gone as well. 

“When we have the chance to represent this club then we have to uphold these values and give absolutely everything for the club.  While we’re in charge and have the jerseys that’s our responsibility.

“That’s football – and football is ruthless. If you come in and you’re not successful, then you won’t be here for long.

“But we have to get the balance of getting people settled in well and comfortable enough to perform and then you have to play on the edge as well, because that is what is required.”

McGregor has been playing at Hampden for more years than he cares to remember, making his bow at the national stadium when Celtic beat Rangers to lift the Scottish Youth Cup back in 2011.

Despite the number of semi-finals, finals and international matches he has played there though, he says the buzz will still be present when the bus pulls into Mount Florida on Saturday evening.

“I think so,” he said. “You get it every week when you play and I think that’s a good thing.

“You’re always on edge. You’re always anticipating what’s going to happen next.

“Football is one of these sports where you can prepare the whole week and turn up on a Saturday and something happens. That’s just football. It’s always live. So of course you have that anticipation when you walk off the bus and think ‘how’s this going to go?’ That’s what keeps you alive and fighting to be successful.

“I never want to lose that. It’s the national stadium. When you come here, generally there are prizes at stake. That keeps you sharp as a footballer.”