Eric Sviatchenko was a Celtic Invincible. The Dane reckons Tom Rogic will go down as a Celtic 'unforgettable'.

Sviatchenko led the tributes to his former Celtic teammate as the Aussie announced his retirement from the game. Rogic won six league titles, five Scottish Cups and five League Cups, amounting to a grand total of 16 honours during his nine-year spell at Celtic. The Dane joked that he's never forgiven him for ending up with a burst lip from celebrating a trademark Rogic last-minute special down at Rugby Park back in March 2016.

Sviatchenko, who now plies his trade in the MLS with Houston Dynamo, said: "I remember a goal at Kilmarnock at Rugby Park. A fan from Denmark sent me a picture of Celtic playing in an all-green away jersey with white pinstripes.

"It was from 2016 and the Danish guy said that his friend got the jersey from me that day at Rugby Park. Tom scored a late screamer to win the game. He took a touch and with his left foot, banged it into the top corner as sweet as you like. It was an important goal in the context of winning the championship.

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"I don't know if it was Tom, I think it was but, in the crazy celebrations that followed, I tore a bit of my lip. I remember going to the national team after that and people asked me what it was like playing in Scotland and I pointed to my lip, and I told them it can be quite physical! I didn't get a burst lip from an opponent; I got it celebrating one of Tom's goals. I always brought it up and I jokingly blamed him for it and told him it was his fault.

"It was an incredible goal though - one of many he scored for Celtic in his career."

The 31-year-old defender admitted that he was taken aback by Rogic's decision, but he respects it totally. He revealed that it was brave of him to come clean about the problems that he and his wife had trying to start their own family and how Peter Lawwell and Dermot Desmond were instrumental in helping Rogic and his wife conceive through IVF treatment after putting the Aussie in touch with a specialist.

Sviatchenko admits that he got all emotional as he believed that Lawwell and Desmond had done a beautiful thing and that it summed up the true meaning of the 'Celtic Family'.

With a daughter in tow and twins on the way in 2024, Sviatchenko said: "I was surprised when I read that Tom Rogic had quit football. I read his Instagram post and there was logic and reasons behind it.

"It brings it home that it is not just football that matters in life but also family. That is a reminder to everybody that football may be important in the grand scheme of things, but it is not as important as family. You have to take care of your family and Tom has decided to do that and good on him.

"I salute Tom for doing that. It is tough to see a player like that retire way too early as I know the level he has played at and the level he could still possibly reach but he has probably taken his time and due consideration before coming to this decision. I am just happy that he and his wife are looking forward to their life back home in Australia and I wish him and his family all the best.

"Peter Lawwell and Dermot Desmond did a wonderful thing for Tom and his family by directing them to the best medical team. Tom highlighted both of their roles after he and his wife had problems with regard to the IVF treatment.

"This is a peek behind the curtains, and it lets the Celtic supporters know that the likes of Lawwell and Desmond are not all about transfers and the buying and selling of players and the balance sheet. There is a human side to them too. I know both of them very well and I have a very good relationship with Lawwell and Desmond. What they did for Tom and his wife is a beautiful thing.

"It is the very definition of the 'Celtic Family' and it allowed Tom and his wife to fulfil their ultimate dream to have kids. I am so pleased that they have a daughter and are now awaiting the arrival of twins."

Nobody needs to tell Sviatchenko about Rogic's natural ability. He confessed that he is always in his thoughts whenever he is compiling the best XI, he has ever played alongside. In fact, Rogic made the bench when Sviatchenko was asked to pick his own all-time best-ever XI players he had played with for a popular sports programme back home in Denmark.

Although even to this day not a lot of people know that Rogic not only possesses massive feet he also has a wicked sense of humour.

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He said: "Tom was one of the best players I have ever played with. I remember going through my starting eleven when I appeared on a programme in Denmark, and I had to pick the best XI I had ever played with. He was battling with many players to be included in the starting XI. That's how highly I rated him. I wanted to put him in but in the end, he made the bench.

"He is always popping into my mind whenever I talk about the great players I played alongside. I don't know if he was underrated but I just thought some of the things he did on a football pitch were effortless and he seemed to produce his best in big games for Celtic.

"I remember him for his incredible technique and that floating physicality where he just seemed to float through the air and go through people like he was not touching the grass. That shuffle he could do from left to right and vice-versa bamboozled me let alone those he was playing against.

"He had massive feet. He was a size 13-and-a-half, and he once gave a pair of boots to my brother as they were the same size of shoe. I don't think my brother wore them as he kept them as a souvenir. I'm sure he still has them to his day. As a player, you could give the ball to him, and he would rarely lose it as he would keep it so tight around his feet. Of course, that left foot could produce magic."

"He showed his top levels at Celtic and despite having had better offers at times he stayed for nine years, and he stayed loyal and true to the club.

"I got to know Tom after six months at the club and he has a subtle but very funny humour. He would say things and he would just burst out laughing. He was part of a trio with James Forrest and Mikael Lustig who would get up to all sorts of mischief. He was great in the dressing room, and he was a much-respected Celtic player. Granted he was not the loudest but when he spoke people tended to listen. He was a good character."

However, it's the 27th of May, 2017 that stands out in Sviatchenko's memory most when Rogic carved an indelible mark in the hearts and minds of the Celtic faithful by scoring the 'Invincible' goal. Sviatchenko is adamant that moment alone cemented Rogic's Celtic legacy.

He said: "I think the Celtic supporters will love Tom even more now after he gave the real reasons behind his retiring from football. He has had a wonderful impact on many great occasions for Celtic. He was a mainstay at Celtic and featured under many brilliant coaches - Ronny Deila, Neil Lennon, Brendan Rodgers and Ange Postecoglou.

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"Tom gave his fellow Celtic teammates in that incredible Invincible team a career moment they will never ever forget in their lives. The magnitude of the occasion and the dribble and the execution of the goal and he flies into the fans to celebrate you could see how much it meant to him to score that important goal. The lightning struck at the same time it is almost poetic. 

"His legacy is that he is a hero at Celtic. Tom is a player who will be remembered for time and perpetual motion, that's for sure."