AFTER almost eight years in Glasgow, Mikael Lustig simply could not put away his competitive streak and take the easy life by going back home to Sweden.

The former Celtic defender, who joined KAA Gent in Belgium last month, has continued his continental trek by adding a new country to his cv after more than a decade on the road.

Lustig’s decision to swap Norway for Scotland, when he joined Celtic from Rosenborg in January 2012, paid off with eight Premiership titles in a row and 16 trophies.

The man who has played 75 times for Sweden was wanted by AIK Stockholm. Lustig would gladly have extended his time at Celtic but wanted a three-year deal, while Celtic only offered one year. Lustig got the contract he craved from Gent and is now in pre-season training with his new side.

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The 32-year-old has gone to a country which has two languages, French and Flemish. Gent are from the Flemish-speaking part and Lustig insists the cosmopolitan feel of life off the pitch, pushed him towards the club.

“There’s always going to be a big difference when you change country and change team, but it is good,” Lustig told a video interview for the club website. “I had a good talk with Peter Verbeke [Gent sporting director] and he visited me in Glasgow and told me a bit about Gent’s tradition, what kind of club they want to be and how they see me fitting into the club.

“So, then I did some research and saw that Gent is a beautiful city and it’s also really good for my kids as well. My oldest child will be eight in August and it was important that we found a really good school here and there is an international school that she will go to. If the family are not satisfied, I am not satisfied. That is always the No.1 thing for me.”

Gent were Belgian champions in 2015, and enjoyed a Champions League foray, but last term they finished fifth, missing out on the Europa League on two fronts, after losing to Mechelen in the Belgian Cup final.

Gent’s manager, Jess Thorup, is Danish but Lustig admits the international language of football will help him settle in , although he will not be shy about informing any of his new colleagues if they are not delivering the standard he relished at Celtic.

“We have quite a young team at Gent,” said Lustig. “In training, sometimes you just show with your body language what you want. But if I see a player who doesn’t run, of course I am going to tell him. We are here to do one thing and that is makes the club as good as possible. We need everyone for that.

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“I heard the Gent fans are really amazing and we want to make them proud. I heard they make a lot of noise there. We are doing it for the fans – the fans are the club.”

It was Lustig’s ‘Gallus touch’ that made the connection with the Celtic fans and he explained to the Belgian interviewers why he was nicknamed PC Lustig in Glasgow, following his part in the goal celebration in Celtic’s 5-0 win over Rangers in April 2018 which wrapped up title No.7

“It was a game against our rivals and we scored to make it 3-0. I didn’t plan it but I saw a policeman standing there thought ‘why not’ and stole his hat. I found out a couple of days after that that I could have been probably been jailed for that.”