Liel Abada situation explained after being dropped to Celtic bench

By David Walton

October 26, 2021

Ange Postecoglou has explained why he dropped Liel Abada for Celtic’s 2-0 win against St Johnstone on Saturday.

The winger was given a 9-minute runout against the Saints after previously being a constant in the starting XI over the course of the first 3 months of the campaign.

Instead, Kyogo Furuhashi played on the right to accommodate a first start for Giorgos Giakoumakis. It worked on the day with the Greek scoring his first ever goal for the club. However, some may wonder whether this a one-off or whether Abada will come back into the fold tomorrow.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Postecoglou didn’t confirm who would be starting at Easter Road, but he did explain why he felt he had to take Abada out of the team. Speaking via Celtic TV, Postecoglou said: “It was always my concern [overplaying him]. Obviously, we just kept putting him out there and to his credit, he gives everything every game. But as you said, he’s 19 years old and when we signed him I didn’t think he would play this much initially.

“We had James Forrest who ccould play there but then James has had his own issues. We lost Mikey [Johnston], so we’ve been limited in the players we’ve been able to play.

“I think it was important the first opportunity we got just to give Liel a bit of a rest. Sort of freshen him up mentally and physically and take a litlte bit of the pressure off of him which he’s carried really well. It’s great just to give him a little bit of a spell and then he’ll be ready to go.”

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Celtic winger Liel Abada simply being rotated for freshness

Celtic will play 50+ games this season. There are going to be plenty more situations in which the rapid little winger is going to be dropped to the bench. The fact he came on for the closing stages on Saturday showed in itself it was a case of resting him and nothing more.

It won’t be the first time he falls victim to rotation either. There are going to be periods where James Forrest or Mikey Johnston comes on in his place. Or perhaps Postecoglou will want to see Jota on the right side occasionally. These are all options available to the manager.

We’ve just become so used to seeing Abada front and centre this season that it’s unusual to see him out of the team. He’s been one of the faces of the new era under Ange, and his performances have been electric so far this season.

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

You can’t argue with 6 goals and 4 assists in only 18 games [Transfermarkt]. However, it was clear in recent games he needed to be taken out of the firing line. It was always going to be time for him to get his shot on the bench at some stage.

It’ll be interesting then to see if he’ll be given his spot back immediately against Hibs tomorrow. Abada is certainly in line for it if the manager feels he’s fresh enough. He still makes up part of our strongest XI, and given Hibs’ attacking approach, it could suit us having him run in behind.

That decision will be down to the boss of course. In any case, it’s clear Abada won’t be on the sidelines for long.

In other news, Celtic still want more control in games despite recent form