There is little debate that Carter-Vickers is one of the best central defenders in Scotland. Since his arrival from Tottenham last summer - initially on loan - the US international has seriously impressed and forged a strong partnership with Carl Starfelt. 

On many occasions, Carter-Vickers has more impact going forward than defensively for Celtic with the club such a dominant force in the Scottish Premiership. However, it could be his defensive acumen that comes under the spotlight on Sunday.

There's no doubt Rangers look like a different side under Michael Beale with Alfredo Morelos much more effective, Kemar Roofe, Fashion Sakala and Antonio Colak offering serious firepower in the Ibrox ranks.

But, with Carter-Vickers and Starfelt both available, Ange Postecoglou will be confident of containing any danger. After all, Celtic's only domestic defeat this season came when both first-choice centre-backs were out for the 2-0 loss to St Mirren.With Carter-Vickers in the squad, Celtic have 12 clean sheets from 23 matches - one of those a 4-0 win over Rangers, albeit while Giovanni van Bronckhorst was in charge.

As mentioned, Carter-Vickers not only completes a vital defensive duty for Celtic, but he is also capable of building attacks for his side and driving with the ball. He's shown no signs of stopping that even on the biggest of stages, so he could make a serious contribution in both directions at the national stadium.

Add into the mix that Carter-Vickers has scored against Rangers previously and it's even easier to earmark the defender for a key role at Hampden this weekend.

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On the big stage, clubs need a leader. Celtic have been blessed with McGregor stepping up to the occasion even before Scott Brown's departure. Since being named skipper, however, McGregor has only improved to drive standards at Celtic.

On Sunday it will be no different for Celtic with McGregor certain to be at the heart of the midfield battle and do the dirty work before any opportunity to showcase his technical ability. Rangers aim to carry out a serious high press under Beale - and McGregor's composure could prove essential not only to keep possession himself but also relax his team-mates.

Should the Scotland international begin to dictate play and effectively feed the ball into midfield partners of Reo Hatate with Aaron Mooy or Matt O'Riley then it could be a long afternoon for Rangers. McGregor has undoubted quality on the ball himself, too, and is just as capable of splitting a defence or finding the net from range himself.

With McGregor, Postecoglou can almost certainly rely on a minimum of a 7/10 performance regardless of whether he is deployed deeper in the midfield or in a box-to-box role. His boundless energy, endless commitment and intelligent play will be necessary to shut down any chance of Rangers walking away with the Viaplay Cup trophy.


Genuine concerns of an absence for the Japanese fan favourite were alleviated this week with Kyogo in training and raring to go against Rangers. The striker had limped off against St Mirren with a shoulder injury but has once again shown his resilience to come straight back into training and be an expected starter at Hampden.

It's difficult to put into words how much of an impact Kyogo has on Celtic when he's playing - in fact, it might be easier to highlight what's missing when he isn't involved. Simple statistics show a mighty-impressive 22-goal haul so far this season - but there is so much more to the striker than finding the net.

Even if he's not on the scoresheet, Kyogo is a nightmare for defenders and will keep Connor Goldson and Ben Davies busy with his cutting runs and ability to drop deep or move into wide areas with effect. He creates space for his team-mates with sometimes devastating consequences and can take a player out of the game without even touching the ball.

That's not to say Kyogo couldn't be a matchwinner in the Viaplay Cup - he does have history in that regard. Last season it was Kyogo's double which earned Celtic the trophy with a 2-1 win over Hibs despite falling behind in the second half. A look at his double that day shows his quality. The first, ghosting behind the defence and slamming low into the net just minutes after falling behind to haul his side level. The second was a thing of beauty and true quality as his deft lobbed finish ended Hibs' hopes.