By support

30th Dec, 2016 | 8:26pm

Celtic 25-year-old relishes hostile Rangers atmosphere, will make him stronger

By Emma Sanders

Erik Sviatchenko is preparing to take part in his first Old Firm derby at the Ibrox but the Celtic ace claimed he will not be troubled by the hostile atmosphere – and is actually relishing the challenge.

The 25-year-old has been a crucial part of the Celtic first team this season and he is expected to line-up in defence against Rangers on Saturday.

The two teams will go head-to-head for the third time this season and Celtic have come out on top on the previous two occasions, though they are yet to travel to the Ibrox.

It promises to be a feisty encounter but Sviatchenko claimed the “tense” atmosphere is something you get used to dealing with as a footballer.

“It is my first time at Ibrox and I heard the atmosphere there can be a bit tense so I am looking forward to it,” said Sviatchenko, as reported by the Evening Times.

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“In my Denmark time in derbies where you are getting shouted at and things like that, it only makes you stronger and want to give your very best.

“Sometimes it is just part of football to get a bit of abuse, so that’s fine.”

Celtic remain unbeaten this season and they could extend their impressive run without a loss to 24 games as well as potentially breaking a long-standing Ibrox league record on the weekend.

Rangers have not lost a single domestic fixture at home for 15 months but the Danish international and his Celtic teammates are favourites to take away all three points this time around.

Celtic hold a 16-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership table but they could extend that to 19 points with victory over second-placed Rangers on New Year’s Eve.

In other Celtic news, Rodgers reveals why the Rangers clash is crucial.