Celtic’s next challenge on their home turf could not contrast more with what they encountered on Saturday but following their 6-1 cruise to victory Erik Sviatchenko described it as the ideal dress rehearsal for beating English Premier League leader Manchester City.
He and his teammates know they face the same sort of competitive contrast as they experienced between their 5-1 win over Rangers turned around three days later when they were thrashed 7-0 in Barcelona, but the Danish defender reckons the way they went about their business after going behind to Souleyman Couilbaly’s 33rd minute thunderbolt, served notice of intent.
“It was the perfect warm-up for Wednesday,” he reckoned.
“It’s always good to have a good win going into the Champions League. We didn’t use all our energy today. We were clever and after we lost a really, really good goal we came back to show we are the better team.
Sviatchenko admitted that the team’s collective pride had been hurt by the size of their Champions League defeat by the Spanish giants earlier this month but said they have instead regrouped and with more time to prepare for the meeting with a Manchester City side that has ominously won all 10 of its domestic and European fixtures this season.
“You could be disappointed and not move on but we have shown the character that needed to be shown and we are ready for the challenge again,” he claimed.
“We talked about the game, we looked at some clips and at where we can improve, but sometimes we have to remember that we only had one day of preparation for the big game. When you are facing the best players in the world and you only have one day it will be difficult, but we will be concentrated and we will have home advantage and hopefully the crowd can help us through what will be a difficult game.”
The Scottish champions face the rare experience of being rank outsiders in a match at Celtic Park, but Sviatchenko suggested they are ready to deal with the required change of mindset as they take on one of the most expensively assembled teams in world football.
“We accept that role,” he said.
“We will do everything we can to be the best we can, but we accept we are being challenged by the best players of the world and even though it’s at Celtic Park it will be a difficult game.”