SOMETIMES not saying anything at all can speak volumes.

It was inevitable that Callum McGregor would be invited to respond to the inflammatory comments made by Rangers forward Fashion Sakala this week as the Celtic captain faced the media ahead of the Viaplay Cup final yesterday.

But it was just as certain that McGregor would decline to be drawn into a war of words with his rival player - who called the defending champions “that other mob” and stated that the Govan outfit were a “better team and a better club” – before the encounter at Hampden tomorrow.

The Scotland internationalist has always been the kind of individual who prefers to do his talking on the park – and that approach has served him pretty well to date.

Focusing on the football has helped him to amass no fewer than 17 major honours to date – he has a winner’s medal from the 2015 final despite not getting off the bench in the 2-0 triumph over Dundee United - so he was not about to deviate from his tried and tested pre-match routine and aim a pot shot back. 

"I didn't see much of it,” he said when he was asked about Sakala’s remarks at Lennoxtown. “But a couple of things filtered through on Friday. I don't pay much attention to it, to be honest. For us, we don't want to comment on any other club or any other players.

"We are just thinking solely about the game, how we can prepare and how we can approach the game in the best manner possible. Hopefully on Sunday, if we can do enough right, then we will have the trophy at the end.

"I don't like to talk about other clubs and other players. I have enough to worry about with myself, my club and the team. It's very much the same message for us - we pride ourselves on being humble.

"When we win, we are humble. When we lose, we are humble. I believe that's the right way to go. We are excited for the game and preparing as best as we can. When Sunday comes and we go over that white line, hopefully we can be successful."

This will be the 15th final which the 29-year-old has been involved in with Celtic – but he is just excited about the match with Rangers tomorrow as he was when he was on the bench for the youth team when he was 16. 

"I do remember a lot about that one (Celtic beat Rangers 2-0 at Hampden),” he said. “That would have been a young version of me. It was great.

“I was 16, I had just started playing with the under-19s and I would have been the youngest player on the bench. I kept warming up in front of the dugouts, waving my arms to get their attention, but I didn’t get on.

"Of course, back then it was the dream to go and play for Celtic on the big stages. Back then, you are in the youth team and it seems like you are close to making the step up. But you are a million miles away really. 

"You can see it in your grasp and you are just dreaming of getting there - to play in cup finals with the first team and win trophies. I count myself very lucky that I have had the privilege to do that on many occasions now.” 

McGregor added: "I'm as excited for Sunday as I was for the first one. As soon as you win one, it's gone, and you are judged on the next one.

"There is always excitement, but the best way to prepare for these games is to stay calm and trust the process which has got you success in the past. The best thing to do is stick to that and just prepare as well as you can for the final.”

McGregor has forged an excellent partnership with Reo Hatate since the Japanese midfielder arrived in Scotland in January last year and the two men are certain to be selected in the starting line-up by their manager Ange Postecoglou tomorrow. The skipper has been impressed by the impact his team mate has made and thinks even more is to come.

"Reo has been outstanding,” he said. “There is a special talent in there, he is a special player. He is getting better all the time and he is getting more settled with every passing game. He has four goals in his last two games and his return is very good for a midfielder.

"But I see him progressing and developing all the time and we just need to keep pushing him as much as we can. He will develop even more, but it's a pleasure to be playing in there with him.”

"Reo understands most of what we are trying to get across and it does help that we have a set system. The players know where to be when we have the ball and when we don't. There are instances when small details can make a difference, but Reo is very good at picking them up.

"If there ever is an issue with the language, we do have the interpreter in there to help out. But in the main, it's a credit to Reo in how he has come on and learned the language.”

McGregor will not feel the need to say anything out of the ordinary in the traditional huddle before kick-off at Hampden tomorrow given how well Celtic are performing. 

"The squad is looking good,” he said. “Everybody is feeling strong and the team is functioning well, and is really cohesive. We have scored a lot of goals and we aren't conceding too many. As a unit we are playing well and that is always what we look at when we we are building as a team.

"Sometimes there are things that come up before a game that are relevant and I want to get across to the players. Who knows? That might come in the next couple of days. But in terms of structure and organisation, everyone knows what they are doing.”