Callum McGregor says Celtic are ready to send Rangers a message - and hammer home their status as Scotland’s ‘dominant’ force.

The Premiership champions can take a significant step towards a second consecutive title with victory over their rivals at Parkhead on Saturday. Ange Postecoglou’s team have a commanding nine-point advantage at the top and will be backed by 60,000 of their own supporters, with no away fans in attendance.

And captain McGregor believes this is the perfect moment to make a strong statement.

“A game at home against a big opponent, we want to go and send a message, of course we do,” he said. “We want to prepare well all week and when we turn up, we have to perform, we have to be hungry.

"If we do all these things, hopefully we’ll have a positive result. If that all works to plan, we’ve done our job properly.”

Asked if Celtic craved a big result against their rivals en-route to the title, McGregor said: “Of course. And let’s not kid ourselves, they would be the same if the shoe was on the other foot, that’s the nature of competitive sport: you want to be the winner and you want to be dominant, that’s the way we’re all wired.

READ MORE: Derby chance for Celtic's Postecoglou to stifle Rangers’ revival

“If we weren’t, we wouldn’t be in this game. We understand there’s an opportunity there and we’ll be doing everything we can to maximise it.”

Uncertainty remains over the fitness of McGregor’s midfield partner Reo Hatate, sidelined of late with a hamstring issue – and fans have been eagerly awaiting news on whether he has a chance to feature.

“Maybe,” McGregor revealed. “He’s been touch and go all week. Obviously, we’re hoping to try and get as many good players fit and on the pitch as we possibly can, we’ll see where we end up.”

McGregor was speaking at a launch event for The Billy Against Dementia Golf Day and Dinner, on 26th May at Cameron House Hotel - Tickets can be bought on search for Billy McNeill. Donations can be made by texting “Billy” to 70099.