Israel boss explains why Celtic's Bitton is still in squad; comments will alarm Neil Lennon

By John Reid

October 3, 2020

Israel manager Willi Ruttensteiner has explained why Nir Bitton is still in his national squad for the upcoming international fixtures even though the player suffered an ankle injury in Celtic’s midweek win over Sarajevo, the Scottish Sun reports.

Bitton lasted less than 10 minutes of the Europa League play-off. After the game Neil Lennon confirmed, as reported by 67HH that the player would be out of action for around three to four weeks.

However, Ruttensteiner has not dropped him from the Israel squad. He hopes that Bitton can play in Israel’s second and third fixtures of the week.

“We will see if he can play with us”

“Nir Bitton has been called up, and we will see if he can play with us in the second and third games in the Nations League. I don’t think he will be able to train with us at first, but he will join up later” Ruttensteiner said, as quoted by the Scottish Sun.

Celtic centre-back Nir Bitton (Photo by Paul Ursachi/MB Media/Getty Images)

Going by Ruttensteiner’s timeframe, Bitton would miss the Euro 2020 play-off against Scotland on Friday. However, he could take part in the Nations League games against the Czech Republic and Slovakia. That timeframe seems a tad unrealistic. It does show how important Bitton is to his national team though.

Those comments are sure to alarm Neil Lennon. There is no way he will want Bitton still in the Israel squad, whilst he tries to recover from an ankle injury.

Hopefully Lennon can have discussions with Ruttensteiner and get him pulled out of the Israel squad as soon as possible.

Unfortunate with recent injury

Bitton has to be considered very unfortunate to have suffered this recent injury. He had provided a calm assurance to Celtic’s backline in recent games.

Nir Bitton celebrates a goal against Sarajevo last season (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Now he is set to miss some big games for the Hoops and his national side. Hopefully he returns sooner than the timeframe Neil Lennon specified, but Celtic at least have the defensive cover to cope. Christopher Jullien has returned from injury, he can take Bitton’s place.

Bitton shouldn’t be playing in any international games in the next few weeks though, that’s for sure. Hopefully the situation can be resolved, and Bitton can continue his recovery from injury.

In other news, Chris Sutton has called on Celtic to sign replacements for Jonny Hayes and Boli Bolingoli.