Willie Miller yesterday called out Nir Bitton for some sloppy moments against Aberdeen despite an overall impressive display from the Israeli.
Bitton was back in the starting XI for the Hampden clash after recovering from Covid in recent weeks. The former Ashdod star managed to put in a solid display and helped Shane Duffy secure a fine clean sheet in their re-arranged Scottish Cup semi-final matchup.
At times in the second half there was the odd lapse from Bitton however, as he gave the ball away deep in Celtic’s own half on a couple of occasions. Despite that, no harm was done and the clean sheet was safe.
But Miller still decided to unfairly highlight his odd moment or two live on BBC Sportsound yesterday. Speaking about the Celtic star, Aberdeen legend Miller said the following:
“If I was playing beside Nir Bitton, I won’t tell you what I’d be saying to him or where I would have him in the dressing room just now.
“It was so slack on three occasions in particular. I know he’s that type of player and he’s a very good player, but when the opposition start to do that, start to go slack, the passes start to go astray, that gives you a lift. It gives you hope.
“Aberdeen had basically no hope at half-time because they were totally outplayed by Celtic. Celtic were in total control, came out the second half, they let their own high standards drop a little bit. Maybe Scott Brown should’ve been bossing them a little bit to say ‘hey, don’t give this team a chance’.”
Important to remember that player aren’t robots
We all make errors in our jobs on a daily basis. Whether it be a misprint in an article or a fax that you forgot to send – moments of sloppiness happen everywhere. The base point is that players can’t just be considered robots because they play football, just like you or I can’t be considered the same in our own jobs.
When Bitton is part of Celtic’s starting XI, there’s a lot of responsibility on him to distribute the ball from the back. This can often at times have him with his back to goal and needing to play a back pass. More often than not he manages this efficiently, so it’s harsh to suggest you would have him up against a wall or anything for a moment of slackness.
After all, outside of those passes, Bitton had another fine game. And he’s not long back from Covid either, which must also be taken into consideration. To put in the level of performance he did and on the stage he managed it – he deserves more praise than stick.
It’s important to also mention the superb block Bitton made in the box in the early stages to deny Sam Cosgrove an opener. He did plenty of good that deserves to be highlighted.
We know Nir well enough to know any moments of slackness will be minimised after more minutes are secured under his belt. It looks likely that will start with Sparta Prague on Thursday night.