Celtic man's brilliant post-match quip after underrated European display
Callum McGregor may be the Celtic captain, but it was Nir Bitton who wore the armband against Betis last night.
The Israeli international led a comparatively youthful Celtic side to a 3-2 win over the La Liga’s third-placed side. In arguably one of his best European outings for the Bhoys, Bitton was defensively efficient in a number of ways. It might be his most underrated display for Celtic.
According to Fotmob, he made 4 recoveries, won his only aerial duel, intercepted the ball praticaly at will and showed real leadership across the piece. Bitton has enjoyed something of a revival this season under Ange Postecoglou, adapting better than many would’ve expected to the physical demands of the boss’ tactics.
And now, he has his focus set on usurping captain Callum McGregor.
Well, not really. The Celtic midfielder said after the game [Go Radio]:
“One game, one win. Just give me it!
“No, I mean, it’s a real privilege for me. I was really honoured to captain this club, this amazing club. It’s just another milestone for me.
“I’m almost 9 years in, and I really love the club, I love everything about the club. I enjoyed [having the armband].”
Last night, Nir Bitton again showed his importance for Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou
Often criticised in his almost decade-long spell at the club, it was hard to see where Nir Bitton was going to fit at Celtic under Ange Postecoglou.
As a centre-back, Bitton was something of an emergency option. It was practically forgotten that 9 years ago, he was signed as a defensive midfielder. In his performances playing there for Celtic this season, Bitton has largely been excellent.
He just seems so much happier at the club this season. That showed in a hilarious behind-the-scenes moment with his “son” Liel Abada. Similarly, he beamed and compared life at the club to the 15-16 season, a particular highlight of his time at Celtic.
Ange Postecoglou has managed to get the best out of him. Considering that you wouldn’t have found too many Celtic fans fussed about keeping him in the summer, that’s some turnaround.
He loves the club, that much is obvious. Now, he’s getting to play a more integral role. It’s having a benefit for both Bitton and Celtic, and long may that last.
That said, he’s unlikely to wrestle the armband off McGregor any time soon. Even if his performance last night was excellent.