Cameron Carter-Vickers generally carries the look of a man who is not easily flustered.

So, it comes as no surprise that Fashion Sakala’s cup final fighting talk simply washed over him. The Rangers winger broke rank from such press conference staples as ‘we’re looking forward to it’, ‘the lads are ready’ and ‘yeah, no, as I say…’ to declare his club ‘much better’ than ‘the other mob’ earlier this week.

A headline writer’s dream, but enough to make a club PR look for the nearest hole in the ground to swallow them up. Carter-Vickers, though, doesn’t really understand the fuss. He’s got a point – Sakala was never going to say he preferred Celtic, was he?

“To be honest it’s something I’d expect him to say,” the Parkhead defender shrugged. “When you are a professional athlete, you need to have self-belief and confidence, otherwise you won’t get to the level you want.

“It doesn’t bother me. It’s a normal thing to think or say. We don’t need any extra motivation, 100 percent. We want to be at our best and to win the game.”

The USA international is similarly unmoved by the form of countryman Malik Tillman across the city. The pair first crossed path at a training camp in summer 2022, and Carter-Vickers admits he knew the Bayern Munich loanee would be a good fit at Ibrox.

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He’s also no stranger to Todd Cantwell, Rangers’ January arrival from Norwich, after a loan spell at Bournemouth in 2020. But he won’t spend too much time – if any – worrying about who will line-up across the field at Hampden. Celtic, after all, have more than enough in their armoury to ensure it’s they who lift the trophy come Sunday evening.

“I first camp with Malik was last summer and you could see the quality he has,” Carter-Vickers said. “I’m not surprised he’s started to perform for Rangers and has for a while now. He’s a good player. 

“I’ve played against Todd Cantwell in the Championship and he has a lot of quality. We’re well aware these guys can cause us trouble.

“We have players who can do the same. The way the manager thinks, it’s about focusing on our performance and getting to the levels we know we can. With that the results will come.”

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Carter-Vickers does not immediately to spring to mind as one of Ange Postecoglou’s attacking threats – but he does have previous in this fixture. It’s closing in on a year since he scored at Ibrox to put the final nail in the coffin of Rangers’ Premiership title defence. He’d surely love to do it again, wouldn’t he?

“Yeah, but I don’t mind who scores, really, as long as we win the game,” the 25-year-old said. “To score in that game was good. I would have liked to have scored a little bit later on to win the match as the second half was a little bit harder work. It was a great feeling though. 

“Am I due a goal? You never know. It’s not really something I’ve been thinking about or am looking to do. But of course, it would be nice to score at Hampden.”