Nir Bitton’s results with Israel haven’t been up to par in recent months, and he suffered yet another loss yesterday.
Israel were soundly beaten 2-1 at home by Group G leaders Poland last night. Nir played 90 minutes and slotted into the left side of a back five. Bitton himself couldn’t have been blamed for either of the Poles’ efforts either side of half-time.
But Bitton has now suffered three defeats in the five Euro 2020 qualifiers he’s played in during this campaign (Transfermarkt). Unfortunately for Celtic’s Mr Reliable, he missed two crucial matches in September due to an injury.
All of a sudden, Bitton’s Israel now face a potentially embarrassing situation in Group G. They now sit second-bottom of the six-team group, ahead of only Latvia who sit on zero points.
Bitton will now travel to Macedonia with his national team looking to avoid finishing as the worst of the rest ahead of Latvia. A draw won’t be enough either. Israel have to collect the three points to finish in fourth place.
Bitton’s Israel haven’t lived up to expectations
That would be a total embarrassment to Israel, who entered the group as third seeds behind Poland and Austria respectively. They’ve also had to make do without Celtic stalwart Hatem Abd Elhamed, who’s apparently sidelined for the next six weeks (Dudu Dahan’s Twitter).
Bitton will be disappointed at how things have gone since he returned from injury last month. He’s played 90 minutes in all of Israel’s last three matches. Unfortunately, a 3-1 loss in Austria combined with Poland’s success in Israel has meant that things have taken a dark turn on the international stage for him.
From a Celtic perspective, we can only hope that his international form doesn’t deflate him ahead of his club return. Israel still have a chance to make things slightly better with success in North Macedonia on Tuesday night. Three points there will heal some of the wounds of Israel’s poor qualification campaign.
All signs also point to Nir playing plenty of games between now and the end of December for Celtic too. Before his injury, Lenny had selected him on 10 occasions. Since his return, he’s managed a further five appearances (Transfermarkt).
The Celtic manager has huge confidence in him, so it’s unfortunate that he’s suffered some poor results recently with his national team.
Here’s hoping he can get the pick-me-up he deserves in Macedonia on Tuesday night. Things certainly haven’t been going to plan for him so far.