Former Celtic right-back Mikael Lustig has been comparing his new life in Gent to what he experienced in Glasgow.
The Swedish veteran left Celtic Park a hero after playing a key role in our eight-in-a-row charge. Lustig was always one to get the support on his side, with his entertaining manner on the pitch helping the supporters to see him as a cult hero.
Unfortunately, Lustig’s legs just couldn’t keep up with the demands at Celtic. He wasn’t offered a new contract in the summer, and is now playing with Gent in Belgium. He’s already made 14 appearances with his new club, and is clearly adapting to life well away from Parkhead.
Lustig is currently on international duty, however, and has been talking to fotbollskanalen. In his interview, he talked up the differences between Gent and Celtic, and touched on the one thing he doesn’t miss from Glasgow.
“There are extreme differences. Celtic is an extremely large club and means a lot to the people in Glasgow. Life in Gent is different. It is clear that may people care but it is not straightforward that people know who I am when I go into town.
“So in that way there’s a difference. It is pretty nice. I have lived under that pressure for eight years. I liked it at certain times, but it’s nice not to feel that if we lose then I can’t go out and check out a restaurant for a few weeks.
“That particular feeling can be quite nice.”
Celtic done extremely well to bounce back from Lustig’s departure
There were plenty in the Celtic support who believed that Lustig’s time here was up. However, the longer we got into the summer and ahead of crucial Champions League qualifiers, we had a problem.
Centre-back Kristoffer Ajer was having to cover at right-back, and it wasn’t ideal. This often led the likes of Nir Bitton and Jozo Simunovic having to partner each other at centre-back. Finding a replacement better than Lustig was proving to be a challenge.
However, in came Hatem Abd Elhamed and Moritz Bauer to help ease any concerns we had over the summer. Both men have proved to have the legs to be able to make an impression, and Celtic suddenly have real competition in the position.
Lustig’s time in Glasgow was up, and it was the right decision for all parties. He wouldn’t have wanted to play another season and to have gotten even slower on the ball. It could’ve led to some costly moments this season, regardless of how close he is to Neil Lennon.
Going to a club with less pressure and spotlight on him is clearly something he’s enjoying. Considering some of the stick he received whilst at Parkhead, you can’t blame him for appreciating the silence in Belgium.
Lustig, however, will always be welcomed back at Parkhead in the future. The service he gave to the club, making just under 300 appearances, won’t ever be forgotten.