Celtic players 'unaffected by Ronny Deila departure' - Erik Sviatchenko

By Richard WilsonBBC Scotland
Erik Sviatchenko celebrates Celtic's victory over Hearts
Celtic effectively wrapped up a fifth title in a row with their win at Hearts last Sunday

Erik Sviatchenko insists manager Ronny Deila's decision to leave Celtic this summer has not affected the team as they aim to seal the Premiership title.

The Danish defender admits "it was a bit of a strange feeling" when the players heard the news initially.

But having effectively retained the title by beating Hearts, given their goal difference, a point against Aberdeen on Sunday would confirm it.

"It hasn't been a problem at all," Sviatchenko said about Deila's exit.

"What the manager tells us is what we're doing on the pitch. We have good working relations and we're all professionals.

"We're all the same about getting towards the end with good results. We are all together now.

"It strikes your mind [who will replace Deila], but we all have good faith in the board to find a good replacement. Our job is to perform and play football. We're just waiting for when the announcement will be and we're professional about it.

"We have to remember as well, it is a massive achievement to win the title. We are very happy about that and of course we want to play well in the last games and do everything to get those nice displays."

Celtic's players are likely to only enjoy four weeks' break between the end of this campaign on 15 May and the start of pre-season training, due to the second qualifying round of the Champions League starting on 12/13 July.

Sviatchenko will return to Denmark with his family for part of the break, but he is relishing the prospect of Champions League football.

Kasper Schmeichel makes a point for Leicester against Man Utd
Kasper Schmeichel was a key player in Leicester's stunning Premier League title win

The 24-year-old would like to meet his international team-mate Kasper Schmeichel in the tournament by reaching the group stages and drawing Leicester City.

"Leicester has done great in the Premier League and done something that people wouldn't imagine they could do," Sviatchenko said.

"Kasper Schmeichel will be staying there now and playing the Champions League. I congratulated him, I texted him, and he's a happy guy.

"I want to play in the Champions League, that's why I came here. We have one goal, to get through and we will do everything we can to flourish."

Sviatchenko also welcomed the news that Celtic will open a safe standing area at Celtic Park next season, becoming the first major club in Britain to re-introduce terracing with rail seats.

"It's something that has been talked about for a long time and now it is coming here to Celtic Park," Sviatchenko said. "We are one of the first to do this and it's very good the fans feel more safe."

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