There are few players you'd rather have alongside you on the pitch than Callum McGregor. A serial winner, a captain who leads by example and a staggering 20-medal haul in his career to date. Quite simply, he's one of the top performers in Scotland.

However, off the pitch McGregor concedes his life is a world away from Champions League nights or trophy presentations as he conceded the sacrifice which has paved the way to his success.

“I’m in here to train, home to rest up, go to bed early then up to do it all over again – I’m probably not much fun to be around but it certainly helps my football career," says McGregor of his unwavering commitment to his playing career. "The fridge is a bit bare, but that’s what you have to do, sacrifices you have to make.

“Once you get the rewards, you feel great about it and that’s the gratification you want is when you’re winning trophies, playing well and are part of a successful organisation.

“That’s the reason you do these things.”

McGregor's off-the-pitch attitude has certainly paid dividends in the Celtic trophy room and further boosted the Scotland national team in the bid to reach a second consecutive European Championships.

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However, it's a major burden on McGregor with just ten days off from footballing commitments in the past year - and 52 appearances across all competitions. Remove his knee injury last year and that number would have likely topped 60 matches.

It's a massive test of endurance and demands total dedication to the sport, but for McGregor it's the perfect scenario.

"I think I had about 10 days off and I think that is what it is more for, mentally switching off," he explained. "To try and take yourself away from football. But to be honest after a few days you are already kind of thinking about the season ahead.

"You see things filtering out about how the club is progressing, signing players and things like that. You are never too far away from being on your phone and dealing with something, or thinking ‘how can we be better, how can we implement something new’, to stay ahead of the game.

"You try and take that week to 10 days to switch off and try and reset, but the reality is that it is 24/7.

"Come the end of the season you want a wee break, and try and get some sun. But I think now to be a professional footballer you need to be 24/7. It is a round-the-clock profession and we are never too far away from coming back to work.

"It actually suits personalities like myself, who just want to be here, work and play football. You never get too many opportunities to sit back and relax. It is always about the next challenge and you want to face that head-on."

McGregor just turned 30 over the summer but remains in peak physical condition and has revealed he is adopting a 'mind over matter' approach to playing for many more years to come.

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He said: "You have to look after yourself. The sports science, nutrition and advice you’re being given on a daily basis is better.

“You’ve got all of that to tap in to. Of course, at some point you’ll start to slow down but I’ve always been a big believer in mind over matter.

“Once you start and press that go button… sometimes even when you’re younger you feel sore and tired, but you’ve got to push through it. That’s the same no matter what age you are, there’s always boys playing with niggles but you push through it.

“You come back every season and the sports science and nutrition guys are always trying to give you an advantage, a heads-up on how you can look after yourself better. With the training level and the intensity, after 10 days to two weeks you’re as fit as you’ve ever been.

“The majority of it is probably mindset and attitude, throwing yourself in there. You’ve got 38 games to win the league and that’s your bread and butter."

Having matured into a natural successor for the captain's armband and taking on the leadership role with ease, McGregor is unfazed at the task of getting new team-mates up to speed ahead of the new season under a new manager.

"That is the challenge, every year you start with a new group," he said.

"As much as we have been together for a couple of years, and had good success together, one is to rest that and make sure there is a hunger again to push to be successful, and two, there are new guys that have joined you then of course you have to get them up to speed as quick as possible about what is expected to play at this club.

"If you play at this cub, you have to be successful.

"I think football always pushes you to think that you can get better. There are always different challenges through every season. You have to find a way to get the team to play well, then you have to play well and do your part within the team as well.

"We’ll probably start on Saturday and after four or five weeks something will click and the team will find a new way of playing. And then you have to adjust to that and the players have to adjust to it. And it is the same every season."