Glasgow (AFP) – Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor says the Hoops are targeting back-to-back trebles as they prepare for their toughest domestic challenge of the season.
The Glasgow giants will make the trip to Pittodrie to take on Aberdeen on Wednesday with only goal difference separating the sides at the top of the Scottish Premiership.
Brendan Rodgers’ side, who are unbeaten in 60 matches against Scottish opposition, claimed a rare domestic clean sweep last season.
The Hoops took a step closer to defending the first part of the treble last Saturday as they booked their place in next month’s League Cup final following a 4-2 win over Hibernian.
And McGregor, who has scored five times for Celtic this season, insists the Parkhead club are determined to create history by becoming the first side in Scotland to win consecutive trebles.
“We spoke about it at the start of the season and the message was we want to win them again, not just defend them,” the 24-year-old said.
“We want to go out there playing fast, aggressive football and that’s what you need to do to win trophies.”
Celtic defeated Aberdeen in their four league clashes last season while also seeing off the Dons in the League Cup and Scottish Cup finals.
However, this season Aberdeen remain the only other unbeaten side in the Premiership — form which has seen manager Derek McInnes linked with the vacant Scotland job.
And the Dons boss feels he has a squad capable of competing with Celtic this season.
“Being unable to take anything from our games against Celtic last season is not something that sits well with us but it’s a new team with new players and a new season,” McInnes said.
“We find ourselves at the top of the table again with them but Celtic are still the team to beat.
“All managers would say that every time you come up against Celtic it’s the biggest challenge -– but we don’t want a similar record against them this year as we had last season.
“I firmly believe we’re capable of beating them.”
– Rangers in turmoil –
While Celtic continue to go from strength to strength domestically, their Glasgow rivals Rangers are in turmoil once again.
The Gers, who trail the league leaders by six points, missed out on a place in the League Cup final after a 2-0 defeat by Motherwell in their semi-final clash on Sunday.
The loss has piled the pressure on manager Pedro Caixinha with the under-fire Portuguese questioning the mentality of his players.
And Caixinha, who has yet to win three games in a row since taking charge at Ibrox in March, is demanding a reaction from his players when they host Kilmarnock, managed by former West Bromwich Albion boss Steve Clarke, on Wednesday.
“I told the players you have embarrassed me, the club and the fans. Now it’s time to react and I am glad we are playing on Wednesday,” the Gers gaffer said.
“Now I expect to be paid the other way around. These players play for this club, for this badge. These players play for me. Are they behind me? That’s what they need to show.”
This midweek also sees the first top-flight Edinburgh derby in more than three years with a 20,000 sell-out crowd expected when Hibernian host Hearts.
Fixtures (1845 GMT)
Hamilton v Partick Thistle, Hibernian v Hearts, St Johnstone v Ross County
Aberdeen v Celtic, Dundee v Motherwell, Rangers v Kilmarnock
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