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‘INSPIRATIONAL BROWN IS KEY,’ SVIATCHENKO

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ERIK SVIATCHENKO reckons skipper Scott Brown will be Celtic’s key man against Rangers at Ibrox on Sunday.

The Danish international defender, currently on loan at former club FC Midtjylland, plans to watch the match on Celtic TV – but he wishes he could be in the thick of the action.

He said: “One of the things I miss is the feeling of running out of the huddle at the start of a huge game after listening to one of Scott’s team talks.

“He is not aggressive in the huddle, but he is determined and he gets to the point.

“When he has finished with what he has got to say you have that extra five per cent as you hear the roar from your own support. It is a great feeling.

“He is one of the few players who has that special button. He can be silly and playing around one minute and then he hits the button and he is in full-on game mode.

“He can carry people where he wants them to go and that is a special kind of leadership.

“It is a funny word to use to describe someone at this stage of his career, but, for me, he is always developing.

“To be able to play at Celtic and at that level for 10 years tells you that you need always to be striving for improvement and I think you can see that in him.

“He is capable of providing that little bit of inspiration that gives you a little extra bit in your legs.”

Sviatchenko also believes the Hoops have sufficient reason to be “quietly confident” ahead of their trip across Glasgow to face Graeme Murty’s team.

The 26-year-old centre-half said: “I have followed a lot of the build-up this week, but I think it is only natural that Rangers would talk up their chances.

“If you are speaking to the media then it is difficult to say anything other than the fact you believe in yourself and that you will win the game.

“It is all about trying to give yourself that marginal edge ahead of the game.

“But Celtic know what they are capable of and what they can do. They have been on top of this fixture for a long time and I think there will be a quiet confidence about them.

“Their results have been fantastic domestically since Brendan Rodgers came into the club. They will approach this game with the same preparation as always and I think that they will come out of it on top.”

Sviatchenko added: “I still have my Celtic TV log-in. I watch all the games and I would guess that I will be the first person to settle down on the sofa on Sunday to watch the game.

“I keep up with everything at Celtic. I have a lot of feeling for the club and a lot of friends who are there. I am always supporting them and wanting to celebrate in the success of the club.

“I don’t think that will ever change.”

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Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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