Celtic boss Neil Lennon had some good news for the Hoops support at his pre-match press conference against Hearts on Tuesday.

He disclosed, on the Celtic YouTube channel, that both Hatem Abd Elhamed and Nir Bitton have returned to training after long spells out of the side.

Bitton hasn’t played for Celtic since featuring for eight minutes of the 2-1 Scottish Cup win over Partick Thistle last month.

That injury would have been particularly irritating for the player, as he started the game for the Hoops, but was forced off early.

Nir Bitton, fit again after an injury lay-off

Nir Bitton, fit again after an injury lay-off (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Celtic played with four at the back in that game. Since then though, the Hoops have moved to a three at the back system.

System change is paying off

That system has paid dividends as Celtic are on a seven game winning run. It could also suit Bitton as a player.

Bitton can play at both centre-back and in midfield for the team.

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With the Hoops playing three at the back, there is a place in the team available for Bitton to play alongside Christopher Jullien and Kristoffer Ajer.

Nir Bitton in action

Nir Bitton in action (Photo by Paul Ursachi/MB Media/Getty Images)

Or, perhaps if Neil Lennon wants to rest Ajer or Jullien and still play three at the back Bitton can come in to the side, alongside Jozo Simunovic, for example.

The midfield situation could suit Bitton as well. With Celtic playing what could be described as three central midfielders, Bitton is an ideal candidate to replace Scott Brown or Callum McGregor, should they miss a game.

Might not start every week

When it comes to picking Celtic’s strongest starting 11, Bitton might not feature every week. However, being a utility player can have its uses, and Bitton can play in defence and midfield as and when called upon for the rest of the season.

Bitton’s return after more than a month out, as well as the return of Elhamed, just makes Celtic’s squad all the stronger going into the last three months of the season.

That can only benefit Celtic’s chances of winning the domestic treble, and perhaps making the latter stages of the Europa League.

Should he stay fit, Bitton is more than capable of playing a part in that.


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