Brendan Rodgers has revealed the extent to which Erik Sviatchenko has gone to in order to improve his game this season.

The Danish stopper has establish a sound relationship with Jozo Simunovic at the heart of the Celtic defence this season and Rodgers has cited the player’s attitude as pivotal to any developments he has made in his game.

Celtic have gone 778 domestic minutes without conceding a goal while Rodgers’ team are also on a 16-game unbeaten run. The pairing at the back in front of a revitalised Craig Gordon has lent an air of solidity to the team.

“He’s a boy that I’ve got huge admiration for,” said Rodgers of Sviatchenko. “After every game he studies his own game and cuts how own parts – edits his own individual clips – and then comes to us. We then sit and look together. That’s learning.

“We sit and talk through his game - what he’s done well and what he can improve on so he can take it into the next game.

“So the improvement he’s making is because of him. He's done that since he was in Denmark.

"It was part of what they did there, he's felt the benefits of it, and he's continued with it. Self analysis is very important. Others will do it, look at things with the coaching staff.

"But Erik does his own, and that's what you want as a coach. You want players who think about the game.

"I'm lucky, I have a group here who are really thirsty to learn.

"They want to be better and there is a lot of self improvement and reflection within them. And they're doing well.

"But there is still a long way for us to go."

Simunovic is a more intriguing case. The Croatain under-21 internationalist impressed in sporadic bursts last term but was restricted to 18 appearances due to injury. A knee ligament problem curtailed his campaign at the end of January and it seemed that he was set to quit Celtic without making any significant impression when Torino moved for him in August.

That move fell through but the 22-year-old has been nursed through by Celtic this term. The players’ injury record means that Rodgers won’t put too much physical pressure on the defender by asking him to play too frequently or to feature on plastic surfaces.

Yet, Simunovic’s performances have marked him out for the Hoops this term.

“It’s one that was going to be the partnership if both were fit and well,” said the Celtic manager. “I think Erik’s been brilliant as the season’s gone on – how he’s improving as a player and how he’s developing.

“Jozo is one, I said at the time, I hadn’t seen him play. Not a lot of people had seen him play here. But I could just tell in training – I mentioned it a few months back – that he was a player.

“He’s 6ft 3in, fast, composed, aggressive. He’s still young. He’ll do something rash every now and then. Her looks scary and he is.

“And we’ve got a great guy in Kolo [Toure] there in behind them who can shepherd them and talk to them. He uses all his experience.

“But those two are really strong. If they get the chance to play together consistently they give the team – along with the goalkeeper – a great backbone.

“Slowly it’s starting to turn. He played in the game on the Wednesday and did very well. His knee was clean afterwards so he could play in the final. We’ve got a turnaround of Saturday, Tuesday, Friday. So we’ll monitor it whether he plays in the three or two of the three. But both of them have been very good.”