FORMER Celtic defender Mark Wilson reckons Erik Sviatchenko has been one of Ronny Deila’s best buys for the club.

Unfortunately, the Danish international defender is struggling with a thigh injury and is a massive doubt for the Hoops before Sunday’s Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden.

He was forced to miss the 2-1 win over Motherwell at the weekend after sustaining the blow a week ago in the goalless draw against Dundee at Dens Park.

If Sviatchenko misses out again, the central defensive partnership of Dedryck Boyata and Charlie Mulgrew is likely to continue and former right-back Wilson feels the experience and strength in depth boss Deila can call upon is a significant advantage for the Hoops as they prepare for the High Noon Glasgow derby showdown at the national stadium.

He said: “Of all the signings Ronny Deila has made, Sviatchenko looks to be one of the strongest. He looks to be a good defender, comfortable on the ball and that’s a position Celtic have had problems with all season.

“The other option is Charlie Mulgrew, who I think is an outstanding centre-half for Celtic, especially on that left side, so they have got cover there. However.I think Ronny Deila would prefer to play Sviatchenko.

“Celtic can play a number of ways; they’ve got a bit of physical presence and if things aren’t going their way, they can change it a bit.

“They’ve got a big squad so they can bring guys off the bench who can make the difference. In these games, drawing on experience is always vital. In the Rangers (sic) squad, there’s not a lot of players with Old Firm (sic) experience.

“Kenny Miller knows what it’s all about, and I’m sure he’ll be telling his team-mates – make a fast start; if you start slow, the game can be over within 10 or 15 minutes.

“I’ve heard Mark Warburton saying that it’s just another game of football. In my experience, it’s NOT just a normal game of football, it’s something extraordinary and that’s why we’re all looking forward to it!”

Wilson, 31, who spent six-and-a-half years at Parkhead following a £400,000 move from Dundee United, added: “Ronny would go a long way to keeping his job if he wins this game.

“Some of the doubters he’s had all season would slowly start to turn in his favour again, another double would be on the cards, and he’d go a long way towards securing his job in the summer.”

The former international defender, who has been a free agent since leaving Dumbarton, won eight major honours with the Hoops, including two Scottish Cups in 2007 and 2011.

The latter was secured following a volcano-like Fifth Round replay where a goal from Wilson gave Neil Lennon’s side a 1-0 triumph after a 2-2 draw at Ibrox. 

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