CELTIC defender Erik Sviatchenko has written off “Rangers” as serious Premiership title contenders while his goalkeeping colleague Craig Gordon reckons they will provide a threat to Celtic in next season’s league campaign.
The Danish international centre-half, who scored the Hoops’ second equaliser in the ill-fated Scottish Cup semi-final on Sunday, has also promised the fans the side will bounce back after the embarrassing exit to a team from a lower division.
Sviatchenko was asked after the Hampden flop if the Ibrox side were good enough to challenge for the title next season.
The impressive central defender, bought for £1.5million in January, snapped back: “No. I don’t think they are.”
Sviatchenko, who made his debut as a substitute for red-carded Efe Ambrose in the 3-1 League Cup loss to Ross County, said: “I feel disappointment and anger as well because we were pumped up ready to go to the Final.
““Of course, you can look upon the game and say that maybe we didn’t perform that well.
“But I need to look upon the things that we succeeded in and that’s to show the attitude that’s needed when you play in these big games.
“In a semi-final to go behind and still not give up, that’s a strong attitude, a strong character and something we need to take into the next five finals we have in the Premiership, even though we’re not satisfied now.
“To lose in a semi-final and be so close to the Final, I’ve now done that twice and it’s not the best feeling. I want to bounce back and I know my team-mates want to bounce back, as well.”
Team-mate Craig Gordon, however, didn’t quite agree with his defensive partner. The Scotland international No.1 said: “Rangers (sic) are a good team with a good way of playing, a good set-up and are very well organised.
“They’ll probably strengthen, so will we, and it looks as if it will be quite tight.
“I’ve not lost many penalty shoot-outs in my career, I think that’s only the second one. It’s disappointing, but we shouldn’t have let it get that far.
“We should have scored the goals to make sure it never got to that.
“It’s a very bad result. We expected to come to Hampden and play our own game and in the first-half we didn’t manage to do that at all. They are difficult to play against and we took a bit of time to work that out.”