Neil Lennon confirms that Nir Bitton will miss Celtic game vs Rangers

By John Reid

October 2, 2020

Celtic boss Nir Bitton has confirmed that Nir Bitton will miss the Glasgow derby against Rangers, the Herald reports.

The Hoops centre-back was taken off in the first 10 minutes of the Europa League win over Sarajevo, and with the derby only a fortnight away, Lennon has disclosed that Bitton will not make the game, and will miss Israel’s match against Scotland next week too.

Celtic do have a bit of an injury list when it comes to the derby, as James Forrest is out for the game and Albian Ajeti is a doubt.

“Badly twisted his ankle”

“He’s badly twisted his ankle. We can’t diagnose it until the swelling goes down which will take a day or two. But he’s out for Sunday and certainly out for the qualifiers as well. He’s been playing brilliantly. Hopefully, it won’t be too long, maybe just three or four weeks” Lennon said, as quoted by the Herald.

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

Three or four weeks out would see Bitton ruled out not only for the Glasgow derby, but also the first two rounds of matches in the Europa League group stages. He could also be a doubt for the Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen on the 1st of November.

A real shame for the player

As Lennon says, it is a real shame for Bitton. The Hoops invincible of 2016-17 has been excellent for Celtic this season. He was particularly good in the recent win over Riga in the Europa League qualifiers.

Celtic defender Nir Bitton in action for Israel / (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)

Now he is set for a period out, and it might be some time before we see him in a Celtic jersey again. The only positive aspect of the situation is that there are players available who can take Bitton’s side in the team.

Hatem Abd Elhamed replaced Bitton against Sarajevo. Christopher Jullien is back after a recent injury, and was on the bench against Sarajevo.

However, that won’t make Bitton feel any better. Hopefully his injury isn’t bad as feared. However, it is a blow to both the player and Celtic that he faces some time out.

In other news, Celtic must push for government talks after UEFA confirmed fans can attend Europa League games.