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‘WE CAN NEVER EASE UP,’ SVIATCHENKO

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ERIK SVIATCHENKO has admitted Celtic can not afford a drop in standards when they switch from the Champions League to domestic games.

The Danish defender, who is in the middle of a rich seam of form, believes the Hoops play in a higher gear than required against Scottish opposition.

Sviatchenko played against Borussia Monchengladbach in Germany on Tuesday and then performed alongside Jozo Simunovic against Inverness caley Thistle at Parkhead yesterday.

Asked about the obvious difference between competing against the elite of Europe and the challenge on the home front, the international centre-back answered: “It is a big step up.

“We are showing that domestically we are much better than we need to be, but we keep up the level even though we might be playing lesser teams in some ways. 

“We don’t need to perform at our very best, but it’s about keeping on the front foot all the time. Domestically, we are doing well and we need to keep that up in Europe, as well. 

“Away from home in the Champions League, Celtic historically have had some issues, but we are becoming better and better and on Tuesday we proved that in some ways and we had opportunities to get the three points. They had chances, too, but we could have got more and I think we deserved it.

“We had a good match plan and we executed it very well even though the goal that they got could have been prevented. We want to improve and go through, but it’s about learning in this sort of game and to draw away from home against a Champions League team – who have been in the competition more seasons than we have recently – shows that as a team we are growing.

”One of the words might be togetherness. We are a unit and when one makes a mistake the other guy covers for him and when one makes a good run the other guy comes with him. 

“So it’s about togetherness and wanting to do extra and that’s why we can come back from losing a game against Gladbach to getting that one point that’s really, really important.

“Now it’s about these two Cup Finals against Barcelona and Manchester City coming up.

“At Celtic Park against Barcelona, it will be an important game. Even though it’s against Barca, history says we have done it before, so we could get something from that. 

“City away is going to be difficult because they won against Barcelona, but we showed that every team can be frightened and every team can be challenged when we are at our best, so we will try to do everything that we can. 

“I’m just crossing my fingers that we can perform the way we did against Gladbach, because that was a really, really disciplined game.”

No Celtic pics for CQN from Celtic Park again. Read yesterday’s match report for more details.

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