Former Celtic striker John Harton has expressed his surprise that Erik Sviatchenko has left the Hoops on a permanent basis.

The 26-year-old enforcer recently rejoined his former side FC Midtjylland for a fee of £1million, after initially moving to the Danish champions on loan in January.

Hartson feels that Sviatchenko never let the Hoops down and he expected him to return to the club in the summer, but it is not to be.

“I was a bit surprised to see Erik Sviatchenko leaving Celtic” Hartson said, as quoted by the Evening Times.

“I always felt he was a decent centre-half who would be worth keeping at the club…I did think he would return in the summer.

“Sviatchenko most probably felt he was better than a squad player and he would rather get a game every week than be a bit-part performer at a big club.”

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Sviatchenko only made two appearances for the Hoops last season, none of which were in the Scottish Premiership, as he fell right out of favour with Brendan Rodgers.

Football Insider verdict

Hartson makes some good and bad points with his comments. The chances of the player returning to the Hoops in the summer were always slim. He was never going to get a game for the first-team so there was no real point in him remaining at the club much longer. He is correct though about Sviatchenko wanting game time rather than being a ‘bit-part’ player. It could be argued though that Sviatchenko was so out of favour last season that he would be lucky to even be considered a squad player. The time was right for him to leave the Hoops though, and he has already been a success back in Denmark, as he helped FC Midtjylland win the Danish title. The Dane could end up making a quick return to Glasgow should his new side face the Hoops in the Champions League qualifiers, and no doubt he would be warmly welcomed back by the support.

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