Ange gets Celtic fitness boost ahead of Alloa as Nir Bitton spotted in full training

By Euan Davidson

January 20, 2022

Celtic veteran Nir Bitton has been spotted in full training ahead of the Bhoys’ trip to Alloa Athletic in the Scottish Cup.

Israeli international Bitton wasn’t in the squad against Hibernian on Monday. However, he’s another to have rejoined sessions with Ange Postecoglou and his coaches. The Celtic boss, having brought in Ideguchi and Hatate, now has real depth in midfield, with Soro still at the club, and James McCarthy also an option if needed.

Bitton, notably, wasn’t in the training video that Celtic put up this time last week [Celtic FC]. However, he’s reappeared at Lennoxtown, as shown in this clip. 24 seconds in, the commanding defensive midfielder can be seen alongside summer arrival James McCarthy.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

It’s certainly a boost for Ange Postecoglou. Bitton, while he only missed one game, might be lacking sharpness. Getting minutes in his legs against Alloa, alongside some new faces and fringe players, could see him continue the promising form we’ve seen this season.

Played in his preferred defensive midfield role, Bitton has had some star performances for Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic side. Against St Johnstone, he was superb, entirely deserving of his late goal. He was also particularly effective in games against Motherwell, Dundee and Livingston, albeit the latter was a goalless draw.

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67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

Nir Bitton return gives Ange Postecoglou yet another Celtic option

It’s a genuine mystery how Celtic will line up against Alloa Athletic. For what seems like the first time in his Hoops tenure, Ange Postecoglou has choices at every position.

Jota, who cameoed late against Hibernian, will need minutes in his legs. Christopher Jullien, himself on the comeback trail, has already played a bounce game. The likes of Liam Scales, Giorgos Giakoumakis and James McCarthy could all use game-time, as highlighted by my colleague John McGinley.

With Bitton now looking on the cusp of availability, it’s an exciting problem for Ange Postecoglou to have. Continuity, or squad freshness? Stick or twist?

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Either way, Bitton has looked more like the player we know he can be. As a centre-back, his natural abilities are quelled by defensive responsibilities. Getting him on the ball, he can dictate the tempo, spray passes around and even be an offensive threat.

It’d be great to see him line up against Alloa Athletic on Saturday, and see if he’s got another goal in him.

Whatever the case, Ange Postecoglou has decisions to make.

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