The exciting Celtic talent Nir Bitton is keeping a close eye on

By David Walton

December 22, 2021

Celtic stalwart Nir Bitton has stated that he’s keeping a close eye on Liel Abada as he looks to guide him in his early days in Glasgow.

The Hoops signed Bitton’s countryman back in the summer in a £3.5m deal from Maccabi Petah Tikva [Scottish Sun]. It’s been an up-and-down start for the new signing too, but overall he’s made an impressive beginning to his Celtic career.

It’s easy to draw comparisons between Abada and Bitton too. Abada arrived at just 19 years of age having never previously left his homeland of Israel. Back in 2013, Nir did the exact same when he arrived from Ashdod at 22.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

And as he admitted he sees a bit of himself in Liel, Bitton discussed how he’s trying to help the new arrival in an interview with the Celtic View Podcast:

“He’s a little boy. Since he’s come here I’ve been looking at him and seeing myself in his position when I signed at Celtic. I just want to make sure that he’s settled in. Life outside football is easier when the football is going better, so I’m just trying to be there for him, I’m trying to guide him, to give him the advice he needs and make his life easier.

“It’s not easy to come to a new country at 20 years old. You leave your parents, family, friends. Your language is not the best and some people forget it. They just expect him to be on top of his game every game. But some people need to understand it’s not easy at this age especially when you’re a young boy coming from a different country.

Hibernian 1-2 Celtic | LIVE Reaction

Hibernian 1-2 Celtic | LIVE Reaction
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“I’m just trying to be there for him, and I’m really glad we won this trophy [League Cup]. He was one of the boys who really wanted to win the trophy to experience it [winning].”

Celtic supporters need to have patience with Liel Abada

It’s absolutely vital that Abada has a figure he can lean towards in Bitton. Whilst there are a host of senior figures at the football club who can all lend their own hand, nothing competes with the understanding Nir will have of the transition Abada has had to make.

And that’s been easy to forget when analysing Liel’s performances in the early stages of his Celtic career. Despite having 8 goals and 8 assists in 30 appearances [Transfermarkt], there have still been grumblings about his inconsistency.

Yet even with homegrown youngsters you still get extended periods of time where they’re not at their best. They need time to grow physically and mentally. Throw in the cultural transition Abada has had to make and it only goes to strengthen the case for increased levels of patience.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

There’s a reason that Ange Postecoglou has felt the need to filter him in and out of the side this term. If he felt he was in a place to be performing every game then he would be in the team more often.

But inconsistency is hardly limited to the likes of Abada. Even experienced veterans such as Bitton and James Forrest can have spells where they’re struggling to perform. Less seems to get said about it because they’ve earned their reputations here.

However, when it comes to Liel, it’s imperative he’s given the room to grow. Celtic’s demands are just different to anywhere else, but we let them get in the way of common sense.

In other news, Joe Hart delivers top-class Celtic review on live radio