ERIK SVIATCHENKO had the Celtic debut from hell against Ross County in the League Cup last season.
The Dane had just been signed from FC Midtjylland for £1.5million by Ronny Deila, but was left on the subs’ bench for the ill-fated semi-final against the Highlanders on January 31.
Gary Mackay-Steven had put the Hoops ahead in only 26 SECONDS and it looked as tough a rout was on the cards as the holders passed up two more excellent chances in the opening minutes, both squandered by Efe Ambrose.
Worse was to follow for the Nigerian defender in the 14th minute when he was red-carded for a crude challenge on Alex Schalk and Gary Woods fired in the leveller from the penalty spot.
Deila withdrew Callum McGregor and threw on new Bhoy Sviatchenko in an attempt to shore up the defence.
Jim McIntyre’s outfit took full advantage of the one-man advantage and went ahead through a Paul Quinn header and Schalk drilled in the killer goal as the Parkhead men were left shattered.
Sviatchenko, though, is hoping to obliterate that painful baptism from his memory banks when he will almost certainly take his place in the rearguard alongside Jozo Simunovic against Aberdeen in the Betfred League Cup Final tomorrow afternoon.
And the 26-year-old international has admitted he is enjoying playing alongside the talented Croatian in central defence with veteran Ivorian Kolo Toure still likely to be left out of the starting line-up.
Sviatchenko and Simunovic put in decent performances in the 2-0 Champions League loss against Barcelona in midweek and Brendan Rodgers will almost certainly go with the same pairing against the Dons.
Asked how much he enjoyed playing alongside Jozo, the Dane replied: “It’s great. I think we are improving as a partnership over the last couple of games.
“We are keeping a lot of clean sheets, that’s something that defenders, especially central defenders, like.
“So, it’s something that’s ongoing, that’s developing.
“Now Kolo is out with some injury, Jozo has been playing well and I’m enjoying it.”
*Don’t forget to check out CQNBookstore.com where we have added load of new product including the official 50th Anniversary of Lisbon 2 x DVD and the Lisbon book plus we have the much sought after and absolutely wonderful 4 x DVD of the Official History of Celtic FC back in stock. This completely sold out and Celtic organised a limited re-pressing so get it while you can.