Callum McGregor says Celtic will take a “siege mentality” to Ibrox on Saturday to face Rangers without the backing of any Hoops fans.
Ange Postecogou’s side clinched their second successive cinch Premiership title with a 2-0 win over Hearts at Tynecastle on Sunday and are on course this season for the domestic treble.
The final Old Firm league fixture of the season will have home fans only inside the stadium due to “safety and security” reasons, as was the case when the two sides met at Parkhead in April.
The Celtic captain – nominated along with team-mates Reo Hatate and Kyogo Furuhashi, and Motherwell striker Kevin van Veen for the PFA Scotland Premiership player of the year award – admitted the champions would travel to Govan with a spring in their step after yet another title win but ready to deal with unusual circumstances.
The Scotland midfielder said: “It is brilliant to go there as champions.
“We did it with four games to spare which is excellent. It shows we have had a really good season.
“It shows that we have had good personality in the group as well and we have to show that, we have to go there and be brave and play our football.
“Obviously in terms of the crowd situation, everyone will be against us.
“We won’t have any supporters in so we have to go in with a siege mentality and understand what the game looks like from that perspective and give everything we can to get a positive result.
“The big challenge is can we go there and get a positive result from the game and that what’s the full focus will be on.”
Celtic are unbeaten in five games against Rangers this season, a record which includes a Viaplay Cup final win and a Scottish Cup semi-final victory.
McGregor admits it is “a big incentive” to go through the campaign without tasting defeat against their Old Firm rivals, who are consigned to second place in the league.
He said: “These games are always important throughout the course of every season. We have been really strong in this fixture up until now.
“We go there as champions with a bit of confidence behind us as well.
“We don’t take for granted how difficult the game is going to be, a full house for them and we have to go and try and impose ourselves on the game.
“Obviously we will take confidence from the results we have had but if we don’t turn up there, don’t perform and don’t give our maximum we can’t expect anything from the game.”
McGregor won the PFA Scotland player of the year award last year and on this season’s nomination he said: “It is always nice to be in the conversation when these individual awards are being handed out, it means you are doing something right and obviously the PFA one is the players’ union and voted by for the players which is always a nice one.
“The fact that we have three players nominated means collectively we have had a very good season and that is the most important thing.”
Two more Celtic players have been nominated for the young player of the year award, with Liel Abada and Matt O’Riley joined by Rangers midfielder Malik Tillman and Charlie Reilly, who scored 24 goals for Albion Rovers despite the Cliftonhill side finishing bottom of League Two.