Davie Hay suggests what Celtic's centre-back pairing should be for Rangers clash

The Old Firm meet in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup this weekend.

Former Celtic midfielder and manager Davie Hay believes that Ronny Deila should select Charlie Mulgrew and Erik Sviatchenko as his central defensive partnership for the Hoops' Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers, the Evening Times reports.

The two sides meet in the last four at Hampden Park on Sunday, and while there have been question marks regarding the Dane's chances of featuring in the game, Hay suggested that if he is fit, then he should be one of the two centre-backs used, with Mulgrew being the other.

"If Erik Sviatchenko, who missed the Premiership match against Motherwell at Fir Park on Saturday, is fit then he should play at centre half alongside Charlie Mulgrew," he told the Evening Times.

"I think Sviatchenko has settled in relatively well in Scotland since arriving in January and is the best option if he is available.

"He has had to dovetail with either Dedryck Boyata or Mulgrew since being signed. But I think Sviatchenko and Mulgrew is the best combination for this game."

The Scottish Premiership leaders are yet to lose when the pair have started together at the heart of the Bhoys' back four which may give Deila confidence that their understanding is strong enough to cope with the attacking threat that Mark Warburton's side could pose.

However, with Sviatchenko missing the clash with Motherwell, there will undoubtedly be concerns about whether he will be completely ready for a game of this magnitude, especially as it will be his first taste of an Old Firm contest.

But with the highly-experienced Mulgrew alongside him who will be able to provide him with a better idea of what a game between Rangers and Celtic is all about, Deila may have the faith to throw the 24-year-old straight back into the side, even if his preparation has been less than ideal.

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