Celtic midfielder Nir Bitton has hit out at the media and defended international teammate Ofir Marciano.
The Hoops versatility man, who constantly plays a leading role within the Israel dressing room, has sated he “doesn’t care” what the media says about him and that he’ll never listen to any press criticism of him.
The Celtic man has come out after he was asked to defend Feyenoord and former Hibs goalkeeper Marciano. The shot-stopper made a mess of things against Ajax in his final game heading into international duty, giving away 2 cheap goals in uncharacteristic fashion.
Bitton and his Israeli teammates are now preparing for friendly matches against Germany and Romania respectively. And as he built up to it, he spoke about his own approach to media criticism.
As quoted by Israeli outlet Sport5, Bitton said: “We trust Ofir Marciano, for sure. Every player has bad games in his career, I experienced some of these myself. That’s it. It’s the big secret to being an athlete.
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“I think after good games you should not get too high, and after bad games people should not go down. We will talk about it on the pitch. I do not refer to what is written in the media. I do not care what is written about me in the national team or in the professional team.
“If they [teammates] believe in you and your way, you have to play. You take things from the team, not from the media. You have to deal with it.”
Nir Bitton defends international teammate in show of leadership
Bitton, who has captained Celtic in the past, is one of the leaders in the Parkhead dressing room. And for good reason too. Not just because of the fact he’s been here for nearly 10 years, but because of his experience both on and off the pitch.
You can see how much he’s respected when he goes away on international duty. He’s always one of the players put out to face the press. Always a player who’s looked up to by his teammates. And when you look at his achievements, you can see exactly why.
Ange Postecoglou has worked wonders with Nir too this season. He’s clearly a footballer the manager likes, and given his technical ability you can understand why he fits nicely into Ange’s system. Despite not being one of the more fashionable players at Parkhead, he’s still racked up as many as 35 appearances [Transfermarkt].
He’s also thrived under Ange in a midfield role for Celtic this season. Despite previously operating as a centre-back, the Hoops boss has really taken the time to integrate Nir back into his former position.
It’ll be interesting to see if that’s something Israel boss Willibald Ruttensteiner looks to do tomorrow. Then again, having that versatility at centre-back is always something that can be used down the line.
For now, we wish Nir the best in tomorrow night’s game against Germany. Fingers crossed he gets through the clash unscathed.