Nir Bitton makes first Celtic start in over four months

By David Walton

December 4, 2019

Nir Bitton’s return to first-team action over the last few weeks has been a huge plus, and tonight he achieved his first start in four months.

The Israeli hadn’t played a full 90 minutes since the 3-1 win over Hearts back in August. However, finally, he’s found his way back into Neil Lennon’s starting XI.

Tonight, he was finally given his opportunity in the 2-1 home win against Hamilton. Nir’s return only adds to Lenny’s options in both midfield and defence.

Nir Bitton has slowly been building up his fitness levels in recent weeks (TF-Images/Getty Images)

In recent weeks, the manager has given Bitton some cameo roles to help build his fitness levels up. His nine-minute outing against Ross County in Dingwall has followed appearances against Lazio (x2) and Rennes respectively.

He’s had to deal with being an unused substitute in four of our last six league matches, but the 90 minutes tonight should do him a power of good.

Bitton proved extremely useful pre-injury

His display tonight is a bigger boost than some will believe. It’s important to remember just how vital he was to the cause at the start of the season.

Bitton has been a useful asset for Lennon (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Bitton was given four starts in our first four Champions League qualifiers. He proved to be a steady performer as he continued to justify the trust of the manager.

His performance at Ibrox was also faultless too. He strolled it alongside Christopher Jullien and again proved to be Celtic’s Mr Reliable. The way he dealt with Jermain Defoe and remained composed throughout the occasion was remarkable considering the pressure Celtic were under.

Tonight against Accies, however, was a struggle for everyone. But at the end of the day, we know what we get with the Israeli on a consistent basis.

Bitton’s last appearance was against Hearts at Parkhead (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

With Jozo Simunovic still out, it’s great to have him back playing 90 minutes once again. Outside of Jullien and Kristoffer Ajer, Celtic don’t really have another alternative outside of Bitton. It gives us the depth we desperately need at the back at this time of year.

He’ll most certainly see more game-time as this hectic month rolls on. Tonight was colossal for us in so many ways. Nir’s return was just another reason to add to our confidence.