Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football Scottish Celtic

Celtic eager to be known as winners, says fired-up Sviatchenko

By Ronnie Esplin

An unquenchable thirst for the winning feeling is driving Celtic on, according to defender Erik Sviatchenko. The runaway leaders will be looking to make it 22 consecutive Ladbrokes Premiership wins when they visit Inverness tonight.

Ulsterman Brendan Rodgers' side are unbeaten in 32 domestic games since the start of the season and can increase their 24-point lead over second-placed Aberdeen, after the Dons lost 1-0 against Hamilton last night.

Asked what has motivated the Parkhead club as they have romped so far clear at the summit, Sviatchenko said: "We all want to be or are winners in some way, so you never get tired of winning games.

"There is no better feeling (than) after you have won a game, and that is why we never give up and want to keep pushing forward and get as many points as we can at the end.

"Winning is a nice feeling and we have built something that we don't want to spoil by not being ready or not thinking that it isn't important to win every game.

"It is all about the mental preparation and the approach to the games, because each one will be important.

"It is going to be even more difficult now because we have played so many games, and we want to do our best so we need to be sure we do."

Celtic have won 25 of their 26 league games so far this term, with their only dropped points coming in the 2-2 draw at Caley Thistle when Alex Fisher headed in an 89th-minute leveller for the hosts. Sviatchenko admits that blip will provide all the incentive needed for the trip to the Highlands.

"It will be a motivation because we want to succeed and we want to win," the 25-year-old Dane said. "Sometimes, in some games, you will lose points - that's football - but it hasn't been like that lately and we will do everything we can.

"It's a place we want to win at and we will do everything we can to see if we can get the three points because we always need to be the team that needs to win.

"We have been so good lately so we want to do everything we can to keep progressing."

Reflecting on his side's unbeaten run, boss Rodgers said: "If the players weren't human I would say we'd never lose a game. Unfortunately, they are! They've shown this season already superhuman efforts by continuing with the focus and determination. We should've won the game (in Inverness) but the keeper had an incredible game.

"We've played Inverness twice since then and had two victories. I must say they've showed up well, Richie (Foran) and his team, since we last played them. They've had two very good results - away to Hearts and Friday night against Rangers.

"It will be a tough game. The onus is on us, as it always is, to try and break them down and look to attack.

"The sign of a really good team is that you are never satisfied, you have to keep pushing. When I first came in I said to the players our job isn't to defend the title, it's to win it. Win it means to play with an aggression and fight in every single game.

"That's what they've done and they've been absolutely first class at that. We've got to keep it going. We've got 12 games left in the league, and hopefully a few more cup games to go. I see the players still fresh in their mind, they've got that focus in their eyes.

"We reflected on it (Inverness game) back then. You can't over-analyse it, it's gone. We've had many great games since, big pressure games since then that we've won. It's just one of those things that happens in football."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph