Ange will hopefully clarify Nir Bitton's unknown Celtic injury issue before derby
Ahead of Sunday’s game against Rangers at Celtic Park, Ange Postecoglou will be able to look at his squad and smile knowing his top stars are fit.
Or most of them at least. Josip Juranovic is still out after an injury picked up against our rivals in the Scottish Cup semi-final [Football Scotland]. But perhaps more importantly for this weekend’s fixture, Nir Bitton looks as though he could be missing too.
He’d already missed the Scottish Cup semi-final before Ange stated last week that he had a “slight issue”. That would be the extent of the detail, however. He again didn’t make the squad for Ross County, and that’s left a big question mark over whether he could be ready for Sunday.
Celtic supporters currently don’t know if he’s going to be out for the rest of the season or whether he could be back as soon as this weekend.
Ange has always been one to keep timelines to himself if he believes they’re a touch worrying. Look at the way in which he dealt with Kyogo’s injury back in December. But fans will want to know exactly what’s keeping the Israeli out and how long we’re truly going to be without him for.
Bitton played a key role in our victory at Ibrox back in early April. Coming on as a substitute, the veteran midfielder kept Celtic well in control of the engine room during the final half-hour.
Nir Bitton will have an important role to play vs Rangers if fit
Bitton, if he makes it, will again likely be relied upon to help alleviate the pressure in the second half. Unlikely to be a starter even if fully fit, Nir’s calmness and technical ability will prove handy if the game gets frantic or if we’re simply looking to see the result through.
If not against Rangers, then we’ll be looking at the Premiership fixture against Hearts a week later at Parkhead. But Celtic supporters don’t constantly want to be asking themselves when he will return.
If it is an issue that was going to keep him out for the rest of the season, Ange would’ve surely said so by now. Whilst he has been against giving too much info on injuries at times, he’s still given supporters an indication of what to expect. At the minute, we don’t have that when it comes to Nir.
Ange is likely to carry out a pre-match press conference tomorrow ahead of Sunday’s game. It’ll be interesting to see if this is covered when he discusses his injury concerns.
Bitton has played an influential role for the manager after switching back to his natural central-midfield position this term. He’s featured in 36 matches in all competitions as he’s proven to be a reliable option for Postecoglou regardless of the occasion [Transfermarkt].
All eyes then on Ange tomorrow. Fingers crossed it’s positive news.