Who is… Celtic’s new defensive signing Erik Sviatchenko?


His side may be three points clear with a game in hand at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership, but Celtic boss Ronny Deila is far from resting on his laurels.

The Norwegian manager has made his first move in the January transfer window to bring Erik Sviatchenko to Parkhead from Danish side FC Midtjylland.

The £1.5m deal sees the 24-year-old arrive in Glasgow on a four-and-a-half year contract during which the new Bhoy hopes to see another title or two added to the Celtic trophy cabinet.

“I have had a taste of winning with Midtjylland and I want more of this feeling at Celtic. When you play football you want to be remembered for winning and I want to be remembered as a winner with Celtic’” he told the club’s official website.

After joining the Danish champions at the age of 15, Sviatchenko has gradually worked his way through the junior ranks before becoming a mainstay in The Wolves’ senior side.

The former captain of the team’s under 19s, he has gone on to make 130 appearances for the Herning-based club, winning the Superliga title for the first time last season.

He’s been a solid presence in their backline this season, with seven of the 13 matches he started for them in the league this term resulting in a clean sheet.

His performances earned him a call-up to the Danish national side for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Armenia, coming off the bench to make his debut for his country.

Three subsequent caps in friendlies indicate that a bright future is in store for Celtic’s recent arrival.

Midjtylland certainly have a habit of producing decent young defensive talent with the likes of West Ham’s Winston Reid and the 54-capped Simon Kjaer both starting their senior careers at the club.

Rather than Reid, it is another Premier League centre half that Sviatchenko is said to model himself on.

During his younger days, then Midjtylland Academy manager Glenn Riddlesholm sent the defender to west London, to watch John Terry play.

Teaching Sviatchenko that his game was about “defending, not playing” was the aim, and it certainly appears to have worked with his career taking off in recent years.

Celtic will be delighted if their new signing can turn into the player Terry did. Get anywhere near his level and £1.5m will look an absolute snip.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.