MIKAEL LUSTIG is ready to say hip, hip, hooray to the end of the festive season and the beginning of the winter break.

The Celtic defender has been struggling to shake off a hip injury which has curtailed him for the past few months and which, at one stage, looked certain to see him go under the knife.

Despite the pain, the Swede has been reluctant to miss too many games because he knows he is in a fight with Adam Matthews for the right-back spot.

Which is why the prospect of being able to put his feet up for a couple of weeks during the mid-season break is so appealing for the man who joined the club from Rosenborg this time last year.

Boss Neil Lennon believes we're only now seeing the best of Lustig because he had just completed a full season with his Norwegian club before arriving at Parkhead.

Lustig needed a short break then, effectively, a pre-season. But a series of niggly injuries prevented him having a sustained run.

After the summer break, he looked much better, but the hip injury has taken its toll in recent weeks and forced him out of last weekend's win over Ross County.

Lustig hopes he will be fit enough to return at Dens Park tonight, but is already jumping for joy – figuratively speaking – at the prospect of some recovery time in January.

He said: "Especially now that we are winning, it's quite easy to keep going. But I feel a little bit tired and got a rest at the weekend.

"We're still in four competitions and need to recharge the batteries. So the break is coming at the right time and most of the players need it.

"There have been a lot of games and there will be some more important ones next year."

In Norway and Sweden, Lustig was accustomed to celebrating winning trophies at this time of the year as seasons came to an end. But here, he knows the hard work must continue if the glory is to be enjoyed.

And, even though the Hoops are five points clear in the SPL, he understands the need to push on.

"We don't look too much at the table, just at the next game," said Lustig.

"We will not be taking Dundee lightly, especially away from home.

"It will be a full house and will probably be the biggest game of the season for Dundee.

"They need to collect points now and we know they will make it hard."