Nir Bitton wasn't Liel Abada's only role model in the Celtic dressing room

By Lewis Laird

May 27, 2022

Celtic winger Liel Abada has had an incredible first season in green and white and is now seen as an emerging talent on the European scene.

The 20-year old scored 15 goals and provided 11 assists across the campaign, finishing as one of Ange Postecoglou’s highest contributors in the attacking frontline.

Coming to Glasgow at such a young age could have been a difficult task for any young player arriving from abroad, so Abada deserves huge credit for settling in so quickly.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

However, his Celtic teammates also deserve some credit for their role to play in that.

Fellow Israeli internationalist Nir Bitton took the youngster under his wing, and the duo could be seen close by at all times during the early stages of Abada’s Celtic career in particular.

Another player who Abada is close with in the Celtic dressing room, creating a surprising friendship, is veteran goalkeeper Joe Hart.

Speaking in an interview with Israeli media outlet Ynet, Abada opened up on how helpful the former England number one has been.

The youngster revealed a classy moment between the two when Hart took over interview duties for Abada due to his language difficulties and stated that he saw the shot-stopper as a ‘role model’.

“At the end of one of the games, they wanted to interview me, and I said I wasn’t comfortable enough with the language. So Joe came and told them he’d do it for me.

“He’s a good friend of mine, a player who’s made an amazing career with lots of titles. He’s a role model to me.”

Photo by Soccrates/Getty Images

Joe Hart’s bigger role to play at Celtic Park

Both Liel Abada and Joe Hart were two of Ange Postecoglou’s first signings as Celtic manager, and they have arguably had seasons beyond the expectations of the Hoops’ support.

Hart, in particular, was written off by many as soon as he arrived through the doors at Parkhead. However, he has had an even more significant role to play than just being a goalkeeper.

He is the most experienced player in the Celtic dressing room, and taking players like Abada under his wing will only help build the youngster’s confidence, having the trust of a former Champions League semi-finalist.

It also just goes to show his class that he wouldn’t let Abada go through an interview struggling with the language barrier, so he decided to take over the duties himself.

Ange Postecoglou spoke very heavily about not only Hart as a player but how vital his character would be when he arrived last year. And it is clear to see why.

In other news, Report indicates Rangers are using Celtic as a transfer benchmark, but it’s a risky ploy.