When it comes to a starting XI, not many if at all anyone would have Nir Bitton in there for tomorrow night.
The Israeli has only just come back from a knee injury that had him out of football for 11 months. Since then, he’s made four substitute appearances. He’s played his part against Airdrieonians, Hamilton, St Johnstone, and Hibernian.
Throughout that period, Bitton has been a reliable enforcer in the midfield. His ball-retention has been top notch, whilst he’s still finding his range with his passing.
But his ability to keep Celtic in possession could be such a key factor if he comes on tomorrow night. Should Celtic be ahead in the clash, they’ll need someone to be able to carry the ball with confidence and class. Bitton can do that job convincingly.
Despite the fact Scott Brown and Callum McGregor will start the match, legs will begin to wear given how high-tempo a contest this is likely to be.
If Bitton were to come on for the final half-hour or so, he could be a wonderful addition to the team. The Israeli has the ability to calm things down when on the ball. He plays with such relaxation, and that could be key on a night for cool heads.
A shrewd eye for a killer pass
Added to that, he’s always a threat with his passing range. Bitton may be keeping things quite simple at the moment, but he could explode into life at any point.
Unlocking the Valencia defence could be tricky. It may need someone with Bitton’s eye for a pass to split them. With the pace Celtic are likely to have later on in the game in the form of Timothy Weah or Oliver Burke, Bitton could be invaluable.
He has multiple attributes that have to be taken into consideration for tomorrow night. At his best, he’s a terrific footballer who can keep the ball with class and relax those around him.
And whilst he may not be back to his best just yet, he can certainly play a part tomorrow night.
When thinking about impact subs, the likes of Weah, Odsonne Edouard, and Mikey Johnston come to mind. But in truth, Bitton could have the most valuable skill set of them all against Valencia.