Nir Bitton described as “perfect” by his Celtic boss

Nir Bitton described as “perfect” by his Celtic boss

Brendan Rodgers hails Israeli midfielder in his new defensive role

Andrew Sherwood is the Jewish News Sport and Community Editor

Nir Bitton
Nir Bitton

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers believes Nir Bitton is “perfect” for his new role as a central defender.

The 25-year-old midfielder took over from injured stopper Erik Sviatchenko in the first half of Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Rosenborg which set up a Champions League play-off tie with Astana of Kazakhstan.

Bitton started alongside Jozo Simunovic in the Ladbrokes Premiership opener against Hearts at Parkhead on Saturday and helped Celtic stroll to a 4-1 win, where Leigh Griffiths notched twice with Scott Sinclair and Callum McGregor also on the scoresheet.

With Sviatchenko and Dedryck Boyata out until September with knee injuries, the Israel international, who joined Celtic from FC Ashdod in 2013, will continue to be deployed at the back with Rodgers’ confidence.

“You can see he is very comfortable in it,” said the Northern Irishman.

“Firstly he can defend. We haven’t just thrown him in there, he played a lot there in training and in a lot of exercises he has played centre half.

“He is good in the air, he reads the game well as a defender, he is brave and he has the courage to play, he can get on the ball and starts the attacks from behind.

“I thought he was outstanding during the week when he came on and on Saturday if you didn’t know he had played a lot in midfield in his career, you would say he looked like a top centre half.

“I know his first position is a centre midfield player but I always like a midfielder who can play in that central defensive role and he is perfect for it.”


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