FORMER Celtic defender Erik Sviatchenko has praised his former team-mate, Mikael Lustig, as the Swede looks set to leave the club for good.

Lustig revealed this week that talks had not gone to plan but he was proud of the way he has handled the situation under the circumstances.

The fans seem split over wanting Lustig to sign a new deal because of his advancing years. There’s no doubt the defender could still do a job for the club but Erik highlights how much of an influence Mikael is in the dressing room with the rest of the lads.

“It is rare for any player to stay beyond five years with the same team in modern football.” Erik told Record Sport.

“Mikael is one of many Scandinavians who have joined Celtic and just developed a love and affinity for the club.

“The likes of Henrik Larsson, Marc Rieper, Johan Mjallby, Thomas Gravesen, Mikael and myself have all loved our time at Celtic.

“We all had a great time off the pitch as you thrive on the city and the club.

“He really was the life and soul of the party in the Celtic dressing room.

“He was a fun guy and did crazy things on a night out.

“Mikael was the guy who encouraged the players to enjoy themselves.

“The policeman’s hat celebration and when he wore the beach ball on his head after Celtic scored against Rangers was just typical of Mikael.

“People said putting the policeman’s hat on was a step too far but I never saw it that way.

“I saw the TV pictures and I couldn’t stop laughing as I thought it was amazing.”

“If Mikael does call time on his Celtic career then he will do so with a heavy heart.

“Celtic is just a magical place to be and it is a great club to play football for.”

Mikael has certainly been a big character over the piece for Celtic and Erik confirms his influence. It will be a blow to the players themselves to not have the mad Swede’s influence in the dressing room.

Erik himself is a massive fan of the club after his time at Celtic. His son William is snapped all the time on Instagram wearing his Celtic strip and the player always keeps in touch with how the club is doing since his full time exit last summer.


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