In a week in which there has been plenty of noise, the silence from Celtic has been deafening.

As the Parkhead side prepare for their trip across the city to take on Rangers at noon on Sunday their reticence to buy into the hype that surrounds the encounter has been notable.

In a fixture that carries particular notoriety under any circumstances, the fact that there exists just six points between the teams at the top of the table – excusing consideration of the game in hand Celtic have - has lent an edge to the game that hasn’t been evident in a league meeting since Rangers’ liquidation in 2012.

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Celtic defender Erik Sviatchenko, who is currently back at FC Midtjylland on a loan deal, believes that in the ‘hostile’ environment of Ibrox it is imperative that the Parkhead side maintain their focus, even if all around are losing theirs.

“The one thing I would say about going to Ibrox is that it is hostile,” said the 26-year-old. “It is intense. I always felt that at Celtic Park that the games felt cheerful and positive but when you play as a Celtic player at Ibrox I do think you can feel the hostility.

“I think for a player like Kristoffer [Ajer] who hasn’t experienced that before it is very important that you focus only on what you can do and effect – and that is all on the pitch. You cannot change the fans.

“You have to try to keep communicating, although that can be hard if it is very noisy, and focus as hard as you can on what your game is. I always felt that the circumstances around this game make it different but the game itself is the same and that is what you have to focus on.

“In my experience these are games that everyone looks forward to. It is really all about winning and getting three points. The manager is very calm, very measured. Brendan will point to the fact that it is like every other game and his preparations will be as meticulous as it is for every match Celtic play whether it is Brechin or Rangers. But he knows that it is a big game. He looks to make sure that the pressure is taken off the players as much as possible. He keeps it calm and focused.

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“I don’t think you can get away from the fact that the game itself is intense. I think the one thing that can take you aback if you don’t have too much experience of the fixture is just how tense the game itself can feel. Tackles fly in and it can get heated but that is why you need a calm head.”

Warmly regarded by the Celtic support, Sviatchenko settled quickly into the club when he was signed by Ronny Deila in January 2016. And although he has moved back to the club he was signed from in order to get game time under his belt, he remains an avid viewer of Celtic TV as he logs in to watch every Celtic game and catch up with events in Glasgow.

The elevation of Ajer from fringe player to mainstay of the Celtic backline has been welcomed by Sviatchenko, who mentored the teenager when he first arrived. It remains to be seen whether or not Ajer retains his starting jersey for the game against Rangers given that the more experienced Marvin Compper got 80 minutes of game time under his belt against Morton last weekend.

However, Sviatchenko has maintained that Ajer can be trusted to stay where he is.

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“Kristoffer is such a good player,” he said. “As I said, I have been watching all the games on Celtic TV and I can see how he is developing by staying in the team. He is still very young and for the manager to have that faith in him will really encourage him.

“Because he has the foundations of being a central midfield player you can see how comfortable he is on the ball and carrying the ball out of defence. I have been really pleased for him. I suspect that he will find himself called up to the full Norwegian squad when it is announced imminently and he deserves it.”

One of Sviatchenko’s finest moments for Celtic was arguably in a game that proved particularly pivotal to the club. The defeat to Rangers in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup gave Sviatchenko an a moment to celebrate on a personal level but the loss was instrumental in the arrival of Rodgers at Celtic.

For Sviatchenko, that header at Hampden isn’t just an abiding memory of life in Glasgow but of his own career in microcosm.

“That was a really big moment for me,” he said. “It was as if the script had been written and although it was not the final result that I wanted or the team wanted, I always look back on that moment as one of the huge days, one of the really special days of my career.

“When I was in Glasgow I would be asked about it often from Celtic fans and I actually always felt that moment encapsulated very much who I am as a footballer; I am strong, I am passionate and I am a defender who always looks to make an impact.

“Football is football and no-one can ever really predict what will happen but that was a big moment for me. If it happens that my time at Celtic has reached its natural end then I will always be proud to have played for such a huge and special club. I will always look with fondness on the time I spent at Celtic and that moment will always make me smile.”