Could Sviatchenko's impending Celtic return spell end for Bitton?

Erik Sviatchenko (R) of Celtic and Andrew Waterworth (L) of Linfield contest a high ball during the Champions League second round first leg qualifying game between Linfield and Celtic at...

Celtic defender Erik Sviatchenko has been sidelined for almost three months.

Celtic's Erik Sviatchenko warms up with teammates during a training session at the Celtic Training Centre in Lennoxtown, Scotland on October 30, 2017, on the eve of their UEFA Champions...

Erik Sviatchenko has told Celtic TV, as quoted by Sky Sports, that he could be back in action sooner rather than later after almost three months on the sidelines.

The Denmark international suffered a knee ligament injury in August, ruling him out for a number of months after making just two appearances beforehand in Champions League qualifiers against Linfield and Rosenborg.

Now, the commanding defender could provide Brendan Rodgers with a huge injury boost ahead of their two remaining Champions League fixtures against Paris Saint-Germain and Anderlecht, with the Europa League slot up for grabs.

Erik Sviatchenko of Celtic arrives at the stadium prior to the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and Rangers at Celtic Park on March 12, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland.

The former FC Midtjylland defender has declared he wants to return in time to feature in both matches, with the likes of Nir Bitton, Kieran Tierney and Mikael Lustig playing at centre-back on occasion to cover the loss of Celtic's number 28.

With Dedryck Boyata and Jozo Simunovic suffering injuries throughout the season too, Sviatchenko's absence has seen Israel international Bitton drop into the middle of the defence after plummeting down the midfield pecking order.

The summer signing of Olivier Ntcham from Manchester City, as well as the emergence of Stuart Armstrong and Callum McGregor last season saw 26-year-old Bitton struggle for game time towards the end of the 2016-17 campaign.

Emilio Izaguirre (L), and Nir Bitton of Celtic celebrate at the final Whistle with a young fan during the Scottish Premiership match between Rangers FC and Celtic FC at Ibrox Stadium on...

He has rejuvenated his amount of first-team football by reverting to centre-back, but with Boyata now fit and Sviatchenko nearing a return, could Bitton's Celtic career hit the skids once again?

As quoted by the Scottish Sun, Rodgers has even confirmed that he wants to sign a new central defender in the summer, which could diminish Bitton's first-team chances even more so.

With the January transfer window looming, the only way Bitton is going to earn his Celtic place back is by going elsewhere on loan and proving to manager Rodgers that he has what it takes to shine for the Hoops.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch