In Focus: Sviatchenko return comes at a critical time for Celtic

As reported by The Evening Times, Celtic defender Erik Sviatchenko has opened up about the injury issues that have plagued his efforts to try and force himself into Brendan Rodgers’ first team.

What’s the story?

The Danish international has been ruled out of action for since July, sustaining a knee injury during a UEFA Champions League qualifying match against Rosenborg.

Now though, he’s returned to training with the Scottish champions and while Saturday’s match against Dundee may have come just too soon for the defender but he’s set to be available for the Hoops again at a critical stage of the season.

He’s looking forward to getting back to full fitness and challenging for a spot in the Celtic defensive line.

As quoted by The Evening Times, Sviatchenko said:

It’s been a tough two months, but it was scheduled to be three and it’s been a good, straightforward recovery, so much thanks goes to the medical staff for bringing me to the stage where it’s just about kicking on and being clever and wise. It has been frustrating to be left out with an injury, especially with the timing. It happened against Rosenborg away and I had just come back from a minor injury. I was back in the squad and trusted to play in a big game.

In the months after signing from FC Midtjylland, the centre-back was a stand-out for Celtic, but can he re-capture that form and displace Jozo Simunovic or Dedryck Boyata?

A starter?

Sviatchenko has a lot of work ahead of him if he does want to force his way back into the Celtic team. In his absence, Jozo Simunovic and Dedryck Boyata have looked like the best partnership going forward after stellar performances at Ibrox and away to Anderlecht in Europe.

It would be silly to write off the Dane, especially when that duo have had injury problems of their own, but he’ll need to perform out of his skin to ensure he is regarded as one of the best two defenders at the club.

Celtic are heading into a very heavy schedule of fixtures across three competitions so the opportunities to play could be plentiful.

He doesn’t appear to be the kind of character that is happy to sit on the bench, so the next few months are crucial to his long-term future at the club and everyone will be keeping their fingers crossed he can at least stay fit.