By Alex Stevens

Erik Sviatchenko is in a race against time to be fit to face Rangers, according to Celtic manager Ronny Deila.

The centre-back missed the win at Motherwell last Saturday after going off with a thigh injury against Dundee four days earlier.

But Deila is optimistic the Denmark international will be fit for Sunday’s Scottish Cup semi-final, which has taken on extra significance because Scotland’s two biggest clubs have not played in the same division for four years.

“Erik can be ready,” said Deila on Friday, as quoted by the official Celtic Twitter account. “It’ll be tight but he’s having progress. Final decision on Sunday.

“If he plays he’ll be 100 per cent. We won’t take a risk.”

Another centre-back, Jozo Simunovic, is definitely out with a knee injury while Dedryck Boyata missed training on Tuesday.

But Deila said: “He’ll be fine, it’s just a small thing. Everyone knows what is coming up, it’s just to make themselves ready for Sunday now.”

Sviatchenko has been a mainstay of the team since joining from FC Midjytlland in the January window for a fee of around £2million.

Norwegian Deila is on the verge of leading the Scottish champions to a fifth consecutive title and they will be hot favourites to land the double if they overcome their bitter rivals on Sunday.

In other Celtic news, former Parkhead midfielder Craig Burley has given a withering assessment of the significance of the Old Firm fixture.