Neil Lennon explains decision to hand Nir Bitton new contract

By John McGinley

December 16, 2019

Neil Lennon is delighted that utility man Nir Bitton has committed his future to Celtic and signed a new contract at the club, speaking to the official club website.

As announced by the Hoops earlier today, the Israeli international has put pen to paper on a deal that keeps him at Celtic Park until the summer of 2023.

It comes after speculation on his future, with his previous deal only running to the end of the season and English Premier League club Burnley said to be keen on his services (The Scottish Sun).

Lennon was clearly keen to have him stick around though and has explained why this evening, also stating that the player will now feel a lot more settled in Glasgow as a result.

As quoted by CelticFC.net, he said: “He’s always maintained that he wanted to stay, so we’re really pleased that we could get this bit of really good business done. He’s in the peak of his career, so hopefully we’ll get the best out of him in the next few years.

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“It’s not just that Nir can play in different positions, it’s that he can play in those positions very well. I thought he had an excellent game against Hibs at the weekend, I thought he was brilliant at Ibrox, and also in Stockholm, before he picked up an injury.

“I think the new deal will settle him now, his family are secure now, and he can concentrate on his football. He’s a great player to have around the place, and he knows what it means to play here.”

(Photo by Paul Ursachi/MB Media/Getty Images)

As Lennon says – good business!

Celtic’s decision to invest into Bitton’s peak years is a pretty good way to go here. Not only does the player clearly have a desire to play for the club, despite limited minutes, but we can also now benefit from the experience he’s gained from being at the Hoops for years now.

Lennon signed him initially in 2013 and the versatile international has gone on to make more than 200 appearances in all competitions (Transfermarkt).

He’s had his criticisms and at times it’s looked like he might not be quite at the standard required. Based on the last 12 months though, I concur with Lennon. I think he’s excelled whenever asked to do a job, no matter how unfamiliar.

Having that kind of depth in the squad could be crucial.