PETER SCHMEICHEL insists Celtic defender Erik Sviatchenko has still got a lot to prove.
And the Danish great is adamant the centre-half is NOT good enough to be considered a regular in the international team.
Sviatchenko made his Denmark debut a year ago and picked up his fifth cap when he came off the substitutes’ bench to replace skipper Daniel Agger during the 1-0 loss against Scotland.
But the Manchester United legend reckons the Hoops star’s progress could be determined by 78 times-capped Agger, whose howler gifted Matt Ritchie the only goal of the game on Tuesday night.
Asked if he thought Sviatchenko was ready to take the former Liverpool player’s place in the national side, Schemeichel replied: “It doesn’t look like it.
“The central defence is probably our best position with the players we have available.
“There is a situation with Daniel Agger at the moment. He has still to sign a new contract with Brondby and no-one knows – possibly including himself – if he is going to carry on playing football.
“He has had a load of injuries to contend with. So, if he chooses not to carry on, then that leaves his place open for someone such as Sviatchenko.
“But there is also Yannick Vestegaard to consider. He was on the substitutes’ bench at Hampden, but he actually came on before Sviatchenko in the previous game against Iceland.
“He plays in Germany with Werder Bremen and is making headway.”
Schmeichel added: “I think Sviatchenko needs to step it up a bit. He has played in Denmark for a long time and he has now come over to Scotland to play for Celtic.
“He has only been here a few months and he needs more experience at a higher level, more tempo, more physical.
“I would like to see him play a few more months before making the call.”
Sviatchenko made his appearance at the national stadium just after the hour mark for struggling 31-year-old Agger.
The 24-year-old back-four operator, who joined the SPFL champions in a £1.5million deal from FC Midtjylland in January, was involved in an injury scare after a reckless challenge by Liam Bridcott.
The Scotland sub was booked, but the Dane claimed: “I was very lucky. It was a horrible tackle. It is unbelievable I didn’t suffer a serious injury.
“I said to the referee that he could have broken my leg.”
Sviatchenko, though, should be ready to play against Hearts in the lunchtime showdown at Parkhead on Saturday.