It may be hard to believe, but Nir Bitton has played for Celtic for over 8 years now. Since signing from hometown club FC Ashdod in 2013, his Parkhead career has been characterized by brief flashes of brilliance, spells in the side followed by protracted absences, and, unfortunately, some moments to forget.
According to stats from Transfermarkt, he has played in 251 games for Celtic. We have seen him utilized in a central defensive position a number of times, but it is his performances in his preferred midfield role that has drawn substantial recognition from both the media and the fans in recent weeks.
Bitton’s prolonged absence from the Hoops’ midfield was perhaps to be expected. Scott Brown and Callum McGregor presided over Celtic’s engine room for several seasons; and with players such as David Turnbull of late and Stuart Armstrong in the past, it’s easy to see how the Israel international slipped down the pecking order.
However, could he now have a legitimate claim to feature regularly in the heart of Celtic’s midfield?
In many ways, Bitton has all the necessary traits needed to be a modern defensive midfielder. He is tactically disciplined and holds his position well, essential if Celtic are to get the best out of the attacking talents of David Turnbull and Tom Rogic.
Bitton’s range of passing is perfect for ‘Ange-ball,’ with the Israeli midfielder as comfortable pinging a cross-field pass as he is just keeping the play ticking over. An elegance and composure are present in his game, an ability which will be vital to Celtic’s cause when needing patience and quality to break down the tough opposition defences that frequently turn up at Parkhead.
Bitton’s physicality also facilitates a more combative midfield and addresses some of Celtic’s fragilities at set-pieces and crosses. He certainly has a role to play for sure.
This article was originally posted here