Callum McGregor clamps heavy Rangers treatment as he asks rival 'are you the new hardman?'

Resolute Callum McGregor brushed off a meaty challenge from Rangers star Tom Lawrence before he appeared to ask the rival if he's "the new hardman" at Ibrox.

The Celtic skipper – on the verge of a third consecutive title under his captaincy – laughed off an industrial tackle from the Welshman before challenging the 30-year-old's status within the Rangers team. McGregor has earned acclaim for letting his football do the talking but he's never been shy to dish it out too. He had a run-in with Borna Barisic – who he appeared to brand "s******" for not taking him on in the 3-0 win back in February 2022.

And he relished an exchange with Todd Cantwell last month. The Englishman then claimed he craves trophy glory more than the man who has won a remarkable 20 trophies in green and white and is hoping to add two more this season but McGregor quickly played that down. And Lawrence's treatment was given short shrift.

And the Celtic skipper paid a weighty tribute to boss Brendan Rodgers at the club's player of the year awards on Sunday night. McGregor said: “There was absolutely no doubt in my mind whatsoever. I’ve seen it up close and personal for a number of years now. He’s been outstanding. It’s been difficult circumstances with big injuries to key players. He’s been amazing. He’s always been a pillar of strength for the club. He has that calmness, he was that when he was here the first time and even more so second time. He trusts the process, he stays calm and looks to his experience players to lead the way.

“I think we’ve done that and it has come together in the last four or five weeks, and we can have a positive end to the season. Football is never perfect. You have a really successful squad with a successful manager. But people move on, people come in, it’s the start of a new cycle with new players and a new manager.

“It takes time. What we have been great at over the last couple of years is trusting the process, training as hard as we possibly can and our behaviour on and off the pitch. We know that works and it comes together. The last three or four weeks it’s started to look more like what we would want ourselves to look like. Throughout all that, the manager has been unbelievable.”