Erik Sviatchenko made an instant impact on Celtic’s defensive performances when he arrived in January 2016, six months after the departure of Virgil van Dijk and Jason Denayer. He was our top central defender for the remainder of Ronny Deila’s tenure and for the first six months of Brendan Rodgers’ time.
Then came a game at Ibrox on Hogmanay 2016. Celtic were rattled for much of the opening period and Erik looked most out of sorts. His assured touch was replaced by a need to get rid of the ball early. Fortunately things turned out well that day but I wondered if the manager’s faith in the defender was shaken. Some of us doubted his temperament.
The season just ended started badly for Erik as he picked up an injury early in the Champions League qualification rounds. A loan for former club, Midtjylland, confirmed where he was in Brendan’s plans.
Midtjylland returned most of the money we paid for him and the player is in an environment, and at a level, which suits him. It takes a lot to be a Celtic player, more than just ability or experience elsewhere.