Celtic boss Ange's insight on summer signing's ice cool mentality after weekend strike

By Euan Davidson

January 25, 2022

Liel Abada, Celtic winger, isn’t playing for outside acclaim, says his manager Ange Postecoglou.

Abada, so effective for large parts of his first season at Celtic, scored an absolute peach against Alloa at the weekend. That came after his aggressive pressing against Hibernian helped to set up Daizen Maeda for his first Hoops goal.

Since coming back from the winter break, Abada has looked refreshed and re-energised. Having had a more difficult December, by his own lofty standards, it’s led to a debate amongst Celtic supporters; is Liel Abada underrated?

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Certainly, his output would suggest so. In just his first half-season with Celtic, he’s scored 11 and assisted 8 [Transfermarkt]. But Ange Postecoglou insists that Abada has the correct attitude; he wants to get better and better, and the only feedback he’s listening to is in-house.

Postecoglou said of his summer signing [Celtic FC]: “I don’t think he’ll be phased about whether he gets the credit or not.

“Good thing about Liel, the only feedback he needs or seeks is from us, and from me. That’s why I keep selecting him.

“There’s areas he still needs to improve, but that’s what he wants to do. In terms of effectiveness, for a winger, he played one game through the centre for us. He’s got a tremendous goal and assist output, he’s one we continue to encourage and develop.”

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Liel Abada continues to improve under Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou

Speaking personally, I thought the discourse around Liel Abada was more than a little harsh towards the end of 2021.

The youngster, now just 20, had an absolutely blistering start to life at Celtic. After scoring on his debut, against FC Midtjylland, he just didn’t look back. In most other seasons, he’d be the star signing from the summer window. Especially with close to 20 goal contributions to his name already.

That he’s not getting wrapped up in whether he’s underrated, though, is probably a good thing. That’s for us, the supporters, to argue about. Abada, for his part, has gone from the Israeli top-flight to being a star in an exciting Celtic side. That’s great career development, but it was also a big move for him to make.

Photo by ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP via Getty Images

But he’s needed no time to adjust. A relatively quiet period in late 2021 notwithstanding, he’s excelled with his directness, end-product, pressing and pace. A Postecoglou winger, absolutely no doubt.

By the end of the season, I have a feeling we’ll be talking about Abada in the context of our best 21-22 signings. Perhaps he’ll still be underrated, by whatever metric you choose to measure that.

Abada, though, doesn’t care about the noise. He just wants to get better and better for Celtic. That’s the most promising thing here.

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