SPL news

Freddie ready for Celtic test

December 31, 2010

New signing Freddie Ljungberg pledged to wear Celtic's No. 7 shirt with pride after being unveiled at Parkhead.

The 33-year-old Swedish midfielder has signed until the end of the season after leaving Seattle Sounders at the end of his Major League Soccer contract.

He has been handed one of the club's most iconic numbers and hopes to do it justice between now and the end of the campaign.

"When I was at Arsenal I had Ian Wright's number and he was a legend there. I'll try to do the same here with the number seven shirt - to wear it with pride and do my best,'' he said.

Ljungberg also spoke of his delight at moving back to European football following his American adventure.

"In America the league is much better than it gets credit for but Celtic are a massive club and what I missed the most in America was the passion for the sport,'' he said.

"If you're looking for passion then it's here. There is great support. The fans and the passion are very good here and it's a great team.

"Celtic is a very big club with great management staff too.''

Hoops boss Neil Lennon said Ljungberg would be pushing for a place against Rangers in Sunday's Old Firm derby.

"It's a tough question because he hasn't played much football since October but obviously he's still in great condition and he's come through the medical, which is quite stringent here, with no problems at all. He is in contention.''

Meanwhile, Lennon has also called for the minute's silence before Sunday's Old Firm clash with Rangers at Ibrox to be given the "dignity it deserves''.

The tribute is in honour of the 66 people who died in a crush on stairway 13 at the stadium on January 2, 1971, following a drawn game between Rangers and Celtic.

The Light Blues' skipper that day, John Greig, and Hoops captain of that era, Billy McNeill, will lead out the teams, who will both wear black armbands.

And while there is a nervousness about how some of the visiting fans might react during the silence, the Celtic boss is "praying'' it all goes without a hitch before the battle between the two sides begins.

"That will put everything into perspective,'' Lennon said. "It was a huge tragedy and I hope and pray that the ceremony is conducted with the dignity it deserves. It's not a footballing issue, it's a human issue, a human tragedy and it's important that those people are remembered.''