Erik Sviatchenko was very much a Midtjylland man as he looked ahead to the mouth watering Champions League qualifier next month against his old club, Celtic. The Danish defender notes that the reduced capacity at Celtic Park due to the pandemic restrictions might work in his side’s favour in the first leg and also points to the problems that Celtic have had over the past year or so as a grounds for optimism as far as the Midtjylland hopes are concerned.
Speaking to the Danish media, as reported by Daily Record, Sviatchenko believes that as is usually the case in these Champions League qualifiers, it will be tight but he remains confident of being able to finish Celtic off in the return match in Denmark.
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“The current Covid restrictions in Scotland would mean Celtic will only be allowed to fill a small amount of their capacity,” Erik said. “If the situation remains the same when we play them in Glasgow, it will be a significant advantage for us.
“It will be an exciting challenge for everyone in and around FC Midtjylland and of course, it will be extra special for me. I have great feelings for Celtic. I had a really good time in Glasgow.
“The years in Scotland were rewarding and educational. It was my first stay abroad and it gave me good experiences. I am still in a Snapchat group with Celtic players like Kristoffer Ajer.
“I had to learn to play for a big European club and on a winning team, where the expectation was that we should win every single match in the league – and that it had to happen in a specific way, where the game appeals to the 60,000 passionate fans in the stands. The pressure at Celtic is enormous,” Sviatchenko noted.
As far as a prediction goes, the Dane was confident although recognised how difficult a task it will be to beat what looks like being a new Celtic side in the early stages of transformation under Ange Postecoglou.
“I think it will be as close as it usually always is in these Champions League playoff matches,” he said. “Not everything has been going well for Celtic in the last year and a half and they have suffered some defeats lately.
“But they are still a strong team with skilled players who are used to playing the big games under pressure. And they have European football under their skin. But it’s difficult to assess because neither we nor Celtic knows our finished squads for the season.
“I see it as an advantage that we play away first – it means we can finish our work at the MCH Arena and that’s what happened last year when we beat Slavia Prague.”
Ange Postecoglou: We’ll be working hard towards @ChampionsLeague qualifier.
The new boss gives his thoughts on the draw to the @celticview editor Paul Cuddihy.
The home leg of this tie is included in your 21/22 Season Ticket either in person or via @CelticFCPass.
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— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) June 17, 2021