Ljungberg needs to work for Celtic slot - Mjallby

Freddie Ljungberg
Ljungberg arrived at Celtic in December from Chicago Fire

Celtic assistant manager Johan Mjallby believes fellow-Swede Freddie Ljungberg still has to prove himself to secure a longer contract at Parkhead.

The former Arsenal player will travel to face Inverness on Saturday, having failed to start a league match since he arrived on a free transfer in December.

"He needs to get a few games and then take it from there," said Mjallby.

Meanwhile, Celtic boss Neil Lennon says he and his players are "more motivated than ever" to achieve success.

Ljungberg, 34, arrived in Glasgow from Chicago Fire, but has failed to make an impact at Celtic due to a combination of injury and illness, but Mjallby insists the former West Ham man can still play an important role in the league campaign.

"Freddie did well in the (friendly) in Bilbao at the weekend and has been training for the last two weeks," said Mjallby.

"It has been a bit of a start-stop season for him.

"After the season you sit down and see how many games a player has played and how well he has done and obviously you need to look at the age as well.

"But it's something that the board and Freddie have to deal with.

"I think he is going to be important for us in the run-in with his experience and knowledge.

"We all know that Freddie is still a wonderful player, he has got qualities that can improve the team."

Mjallby believes every game will be like a cup final now for the Glasgow club as they seek to wrest the title from rivals Rangers, but is ignoring the media reports of an impending takeover of the Ibrox club.

Scottish tycoon Craig Whyte is on the brink of assuming control of the Govan club which would bring some stability and much-needed cash to the Scottish champions. However, Mjallby insists he has not been looking at events at the other side of the city.

"It is not in our hands," the former Celtic defender said.

"Whatever happens over there, it is down to us to produce and try to win the games.

"If we keep winning games then we know that we have a good chance to win the league.

"They are still the title holders and we are chasing them.

"But we are top of the league and that is our priority right now."

Mjallby has been handling media duties in recent weeks with manager Lennon serving a touchline ban but Lennon spoke to the club's website to thank fans for "the tremendous support which they have given me, particularly during the last few months".

Lennon also said he was pleased there was a renewed "connection and unity" between the fans and the club.

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