Celtic player who cost Ange badly in July now seriously impressing him

By David Walton

November 24, 2021

Ange Postecoglou has hailed Nir Bitton’s influence and importance at Celtic after a big turn around for the Israeli in recent weeks.

Bitton’s time in the Celtic team under Ange looked over as recently as July. He was sent off in the manager’s very first competitive game against Midtjylland in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers. It led to Celtic being held 1-1 at home and ultimately being knocked out of the competition at the first hurdle in the summer.

Bitton only started 2 of the club’s next 13 matches as his space in the team looked lost [Transfermarkt]. However, a recent injury to Tom Rogic has led to a big opportunity for Nir, who’s back with a bang in his more natural defensive-midfield role.

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

The Israel international has shone against the likes of Hibernian, Ferencvaros, and St Johnstone in recent weeks. And it looks as though he’ll be at the heart of things once again vs Bayer Leverkusen tomorrow night.

Speaking about the Israeli at his pre-match presser today via Celtic TV, Ange was certainly keen to big up his contribution:

“He’s been really good. Obviously when we lost Tommy that midfield 3 was working well for us. We hadn’t really given them a reast and unfortunately Tommy was the one who paid the price for that. It was then important that whoever we brought in continued that same vein. I think Nir’s a very intelligent footballer, he’s an experienced player, he captains his country.

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“I know he’s played at the back predominantly in recent years, but he has the attributes and the calmness to play that role for us. Cal can play further up in that shape so he’ll be important.

“But the key tomorrow night is that there’s not one individual who’s going to change the game for us. We need all of our the players – the one’s who are starting and the ones coming off the bed – if we’re going to achieve something.”

Nir Bitton can be a key figure for Celtic in Germany tomorrow night

One of the key aspects of the game from a Celtic perspective will be in how we manage to stop Leverkusen’s attacking prowess. Let’s not kid ourselves, there are going to nervy periods in the game, with Bayer looking to dominate the midfield battle.

We’re going to need Nir to be all over any loose passes in our own final third. It’ll be his role to intercept as many of the opposition’s attacks as possible. This is something he’s particularly good at, but he’ll need to step it up a level against European opposition.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

As well as that, we have to hope that his passing is on point. The Israeli has an extremely impressive passing range in his arsenal. But the problem is there are times when he keeps it hidden and can be more slack with his decision-making and accuracy.

We don’t need that Bitton turning up tomorrow. If he does, then we’re going to lose the game and lose it pretty comfortably. However, if the other, more efficient Nir turns up – we’ll be in a great place indeed.

All eyes then on if Bitton can step up and do it on a much more difficult stage than he’s been performing at recently. The talent is definitely there, here’s hoping the concentration is too.

In other news, Rarely-used Celtic player suffered a disappointing setback last night

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