Hoops defender Erik Sviatchenko has handed Brendan Rodgers a boost by declaring himself ready for the frantic run-in between now and New Year.

The Danish defender suffered a knee ligament injury back in August as Celtic faced Rosenborg in the Champions League qualifiers and has been sidelined for the last three months.

He was part of a catalogue of defensive injuries with Jozo Simunovic and Dedryck Boyata both also out at different spells. Nir Bitton has been forced to deputise at centre-half but Sviatchenko has his sights on making an impact in Celtic’s remaining two Champions League group games.

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The Parkhead side are within touching distance of securing a Europa League spot which would give them European football after Christmas and Sviatchenko is ready to play his part.

“I think we are aiming to get me fully fit for games as soon as possible,” the defender told Celtic TV. “The international break was convenient because it let me get good sessions and then a bit of rest and keep on looking to the next game.

“Those two games are critical. We have put ourselves in a good position but the job isn’t fully done yet and those two games are going to be decisive. I really hope I can play a part in them.

“I played all six games last season [in the Champions League] which was an amazing experience so I hope I can play in those.”

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Sviatchenko has admitted his frustration at missing the entirety of the campaign so far and he is well aware that he will face a fight to get back into the starting XI.

In his absence Celtic have stretched their unbeaten domestic run to 63 games with the Dane well aware that there have been few hiccups as he has been on the outside looking in.

“I can’t wait to get back,” he said. “It has been a while. Just to get the chance to train again and be available for selection. But right now the team are doing very well and it is about maintaining that standard. There is a lot of competition in our positions which is a positive because it keeps everyone on the edge.

“Injuries are a part of football but there has been a lot to the central defenders and Kristoffer Ajer has done brilliantly. Everyone takes their chances and when they do it is about showing the great quality that we have.

“Every day is an improvement to getting back on the pitch. I have been back for nearly two weeks now and just getting my fitness up. It has been a while and I am missing being out on the park.”

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And while there was inevitable disappointment at being injured, the Dane has maintained that his focus has not wavered.

“It isn’t difficult for me to stay motivated,” he said. “I always have goals, I always have things I want to achieve and those aren’t changed by the fact that I am injured. You need the break and then continue where you left before you went out.

“Hopefully I’ll be staying fit for a while now.

“There has to be an effort to get back fit again after you have been out for a few months. You have to get the feeling for your team-mates and where to run. You just need to polish them a bit. You can always ride a bike and it is a bit like that – you can always play football and play a pass.”