Celtic still much better than Rangers, says Erik Sviatchenko

Celtic defender Erik Sviatchenko
Sviatchenko thought he scored "a legitimate goal" against Rangers at Hampden

Celtic's Erik Sviatchenko insists there is no evidence of Rangers closing the gap on the Scottish champions.

Rangers boss Mark Warburton thinks his side are gaining ground following Sunday's 1-0 loss at Hampden.

However, centre-back Sviatchenko says his side controlled the League Cup semi-final in similar fashion to their 5-1 Premiership victory last month.

"We showed the same performance level as last time, even though the scoresheet was only one goal," he said.

"I think we are still the much better team.

"There were lots of spells in the game when we were dominant and they were struggling. We were creating chances and had the upper hand which allowed us to find the late goal."

It took Celtic 87 minutes to find the goal which set up a meeting with Aberdeen in the final on 27 November, Moussa Dembele cleverly tucking away a pass from substitute Leigh Griffiths.

Rangers goalkeeper Matt Gilks produced several fine saves and Sviatchenko had the ball in the net only for referee Craig Thomson to rule there had been a push on Ibrox defender Clint Hill.

"It was a legitimate goal," was the Dane's take on that incident. "Sometimes it doesn't go your way."

Brendan Rodgers and Leigh Griffiths applaud the Celtic fans at Hampden
Brendan Rodgers and Leigh Griffiths applaud the Celtic fans at Hampden

With Celtic reaching the first final of the season and leading the Premiership by four points with a game in hand, Sviatchenko was asked about the prospect of a domestic treble.

"We take it one game at a time," the Dane added. "But we are Celtic and we want to be dominant. If that means we can win three trophies, we will go for it."

Manager Brendan Rodgers echoed his player's thoughts on Celtic's display at Hampden, saying the statistics suggested his side had stepped up a level from their big league win.

"I'm not worried about the gap," said Rodgers. "That's for other people to worry about.

"I'm only concerned about the improvement for Celtic.

"Every number was better yesterday. We had more possession of the ball, we had more corners, we had more efforts on goal. That would tell you that it was a similar, if not better performance, without the goals."

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