Everything Celtic defender Liam Scales said to the media ahead of his side's game against Ross County on Saturday afternoon...

With the league starting up again, how are yourselves here approaching it?

The same way we always do. We had a break, then had a good chance to get back in. We had a tough week’s training to get up back sharp and back to normal. It’s been a good week building to this game and we’re looking forward to it.

You’re five points clear at the top. Is the mood here that you’re in control of your own destiny?

Definitely. We know that if we win all of our games we’ll win the league so it is in our hands. The table says it’s that way so we’ll do what we can to win as many games as we can between now and the end of the year and hopefully that will do it for us.

How confident are you that this team can become champions?

Very confident. The ability around the dressing room is amazing. We’ve had a good little run now before the new year and we just want to kick on now and be ruthless.

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Matt O’Riley has been linked with a move. How big a player is he to all of you as teammates out there?

A player with his ability is always going to be linked with transfers. He’s always going to be wanted by other clubs. I don’t think that’s a surprise, but he’s key for us. For me, he’s probably been the player of the season so far this year. He’s been amazing and we obviously want to keep him. I’m not surprised about those rumours because he’s a player that’s in demand, I’d say.

What is it about his game this season that he’s taken on, in terms of improving from last season? 

Since he came in, he’s always been an extremely technically gifted footballer, but I think his levels have stepped up. His numbers have been a lot better recently in terms of scoring and creating more goals. It’s probably more of a mental thing than anything, such as where he should be and being in the right place at the right time. That’s probably helped a lot.

Do you feel the best is still yet to come from this Celtic team?

Definitely. We’re still learning and trying to move in the right direction. The busiest part of the season is over now, and for most of the games, we’ll have a week to prepare. This means we can work on how to improve in training, whereas before we didn’t have that luxury because of the Champions League. That’s going to be a positive for us, but we know there’s room for improvement and that’s what we want to do.

How well-equipped do you feel this squad is to go on and do what you need to do this season?

The standard and quality of the squad is brilliant. The club handles the transfers and the manager. If they see a need to strengthen areas, then so be it, but I’ve never been in a squad with this much ability. There’s depth as well as we’ve got a big squad with a lot of players. I’m just happy to be a part of it.

What is it like when you don’t need to go into games every three days? What’s that like as a player?

There’s more time to focus on things you wouldn’t have time to focus on when the games are coming every three or four days. If you play on a Saturday, you’re going to recover on Sunday and Monday, then you might have a game on Tuesday. You have one day’s training on Tuesday then you play on Wednesday. As a player, it’s great to play two games a week because that’s what you want to do, you want to play games. For trying to get information across and work on the training ground, it’s obviously not as ideal as having a full week to prepare for games. 

What has the manager's message been like during the break? What’s he been saying to the players?

The message has been clear from the start. We just need to keep doing what we’ve been doing on our good days and not come away from it. We need to do what we’re good at, and that’s been the message all of the way through. 

Did the break give you a chance to reflect on how far you’ve come this season? Did you think about how you’re going to build on things?

Definitely. It was nice to get a week off after the hectic schedule but I put football to the back of my mind a bit and relaxed. I’m happy with how it’s gone personally for me. I didn’t foresee it going this well so it was nice to look back. There are times I could have done better as a player personally and I’ve looked at those moments as well to improve. That’s what I’m here to do now for the rest of this season.

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Are you keen to build rather than stay where you are?

The season won’t mean anything if I fall away in the second half. That’s when the crunch games are. Every game is important here and I have no intention to fall away and rest on what I’ve done so far. 

There were talks about a new contract for yourself. Have they begun at all?

There’s been nothing really. I’m sure that if it happens my agent will be dealing with that and I’ll be playing my games.