Celtic may need new Bhoy Liel Abada sooner than expected

By Euan Davidson

July 14, 2021

New Celtic winger Liel Abada will have been watching tonight’s meeting with Bristol City with a great deal of interest.

Abada joined the Bhoys pre-match, on a five-year deal from Maccabi Petah Tikva [Celtic FC]. And rather than being gently eased into the team, the right-winger may have to make his start against Preston North End on Saturday.

It’ll be the Bhoys’ first game in front of a home crowd since March 2020. Granted, it’ll only be 2,000 who make it through the turnstiles at Paradise, but it’s quite an introduction for Abada.

He’ll already have played in front of more Celtic supporters than Diego Laxalt, Shane Duffy or Jonjoe Kenny did in a season at Parkhead. However, his debut won’t come under the best circumstances for the Bhoys.

James Forrest is still self-isolating, while wunderkind Karamoko Dembelé limped off with what looked to be a hamstring injury during the first half [Celtic FC].

Although Ewan Henderson filled in on the right of midfield against Bristol City, Postecoglou faces the possibility of handing out quite an intense competitive debut to Abada.

Fortunately, the Israeli made it in time for UEFA’s registration window (for the first leg against FC Midtjylland). The 19-year-old could potentially start for Celtic in a Champions League qualifier.

No pressure then, Liel.

A frustrating watch for Celtic fans, with Liel Abada the Bhoys’ next best option on right-flank

It was meant to be so simple. Go to Bristol, help them open their new training facilities, play well, leave.

The result didn’t matter as such, but the performance did. Gaining fitness, gelling as a team; that was what mattered. Instead, Celtic have a considerable injury list ahead of Tuesday night.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Mikey Johnston, Ismaila Soro and the aforementioned Dembelé all picked up knocks during the game. Vasilis Barkas, relatively impressive in pre-season so far, missed the match entirely.

While it was obviously impossible to get Abada on the pitch tonight, he could face a really tough test on his competitive debut. However, given his comments to Celtic’s media team earlier this evening, he sounds raring to go [Celtic FC].

Unless there’s some excellent news about either Forrest or Dembelé, Celtic face the scenario we were worried about. Untested youngsters being tasked with getting us through the Champions League qualifiers.

It’s not ideal. But if Abada was hoping to test himself at a higher level, it’s the kind of introduction he might’ve wanted to life at Celtic.

READ MORE: What we learned as Celtic drew with Bristol City