Category: Celtic FC News

Nir Bitton admits where he wants to retire after leaving Celtic

Nir Bitton had 9 trophy-laden years at Celtic, as the club enjoyed a tremendous success during his time at Parkhead. Thus, it was only fair that he could say goodbye to the Celtic fan amidst another Premiership title celebration, the Hoops’ 10th over the past 11 seasons. While it was sad to see the curtain come down on the midfielder’s career, it was great to see him leave on a high note.

Bitton might not have always been a first-team regular for Celtic but he was always an important player in the squad and had a key role to play.

His deal with Celtic was believed to run till the summer of 2023 but it is believed that the Israeli international was after a new challenge, after spending such a long time at the club. He was visibly emotional as he featured for the last time for the Hoops though.

Still only 30 years of age, Bitton should have plenty of football left in the tank and appears to be aiming to stay in Europe for the time being. But it appears that his ultimate aim is to return to Israel and call time on his career. As reported by 67 Hail Hail, the player told Ynet:

“I’ve always said I’ll go back to Israeli football, and I want to finish my career here, but right now I’m at a crossroads.

“The initial desire is to stay abroad, but after we have experienced Glasgow which does not have summer, it will only be for a warm country. We miss the sun.”

Bitton sheds light on where he would like to finish his career after leaving Celtic

It is not hard to understand why Bitton would be interested in leaving Celtic. On one hand, he had done everything that was there to do at the club. On the other hand, his role had become that of a bench player, who would be brought on to see out games, and still just 30 years, he might not have been satisfied to play that role moving forward.

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Former Celtic star reveals he regrets not making Parkhead return

Several players have left Celtic over the years to play football in a different league. Some have succeeded while many have failed, and some have even come back to Parkhead for a second stint with the Hoops. And it is safe to say that very few have had anything bad to say about their time playing for the Glasgow giants.

Aiden McGeady had come through the youth ranks at Celtic and established himself as a star at the club after breaking into the first-team picture for the Hoops.

He would ultimately leave the club in a then Scottish record transfer to go to Russia and play for Spartak Moscow. That is not a route that many had taken in the past. Since then, he has played for several English clubs like Everton, Sheffield Wednesday, Preston North End, Charlton Athletic and Sunderland.

Since then, McGeady has revealed that he had an opportunity to return to Celtic during Ronny Deila’s time as the manager but the timing was not right for him to make the move back to Glasgow. He has admitted though that he regrets the fact that he will never play for the Hoops again.

Former Celtic star admits that he regrets that he will never play for the club again

As reported by the Daily Record, while speaking on BBC Sportsound, McGready said:

“I regret it in the fact that I will never play for Celtic again, yeah.

“But at the time, no. I didn’t regret it at the time.

“Looking back now, the success that Celtic have had the last six, seven years it would have been great to go back.

“I’d have loved to have played for Celtic again at some point but I think that is done now.”

A return for McGeady to Celtic no longer seems on the cards and it is safe to say that ship has sailed by this point of time. He could someday return in a different role though.

He was a very important part of the team during the time that he was at the club and at one point of time, he was arguably the best player in Scottish football. He would go on to have a very good career even after leaving Celtic but he could have won a lot of silverware if he had made a return to the club when the window was still open.

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Chris Sutton names Celtic’s Nir Bitton replacement

Nir Bitton said his goodbyes to Celtic fans in the final matchday of the 2021/22 Premiership season, bringing the curtain down on a Parkhead career that had lasted almost a decade, having joined the club back in 2013. His decision to leave was a bit of a surprise, since it was believed that his current deal ran till the summer of 2023 but it looks like the Israeli international was after a new challenge.

It was a bittersweet feeling for the fans. It was sad to see him leave but at the same time, good to see that he was leaving on such a high note, having won the Premiership and the Scottish League Cup this season.

While Bitton had not been a regular starter this season, he was a valuable member of the squad, who was brought off the bench on a consistent basis to help see out games.

Thus, Celtic will have to find someone who can fill his boots. Chris Sutton though appears to believe that the club already have someone earmarked to play Bitton’s role. He wrote in his column in the Daily Record:

When it comes to replacing Bitton, it is, of course, worth noting that he was not a first pick. Not a regular starter. It’s an easier shift.

Looking at Ideguchi’s CV, he looks the one who is being earmarked to fulfil that task. The Japanese has not as yet had an opportunity to show anyone what he is made of at Parkhead.

He was just settling into the squad when suffering a bad injury on that rough night in Alloa and that made him a spectator for virtually the rest of the campaign, apart from a couple of short outings from the subs bench.

With a rest and a full pre-season under his belt, we’ll get a better idea soon enough.

Sutton believes that Celtic already have a replacement for Bitton in their squad

Yosuke Ideguchi arrived at Celtic in January from Gamba Osaka. It was an interesting deal though, because unlike Reo Hatate or Daizen Maeda, he had not enjoyed a great season in Japan.

Ideguchi had broken into the Japanese national team picture at a young age but a failed moved to Leeds United had resulted in stalling his development. He has a lot of unfulfilled potential though and has made a few very promising cameo appearances off the bench.

While Ideguchi has not made much of an impact since arriving, it has not had much of an impact on the team till now. He could prove to be vital next season though and one would hope that he can find his best form soon.

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European giants in talks to face Celtic in Sydney Super Cup

Th original plans for the Sydney Super Cup suffered a massive blow when the Rangers decided to pull out of their glamour friendly against Celtic, which was scheduled to be played later this year in Australia. The Hoops are still expected to go there though and as a result, one would expect the organisers to look to replace the Ibrox side with a suitable opponent for Ange Postecoglou’s side.

Of course, neither set of fans were very happy with the announcement that a ‘friendly’ Glasgow Derby had been arranged away in Australia. But the Rangers fans had seemed significantly unhappier, as it looked like they were playing second fiddle to Celtic, with the Hoops also rumoured to be getting a significantly higher fee for their involvement in the Sydney Super Cup.

It appears that the Australian organisers might still have big plans for Ange’s Homecoming Tour though.

As reported by CeltsAreHere, it is understood that Inter Milan is in talks to replace the Rangers in the Sydney Super Cup.

European giants are in talks to replace Rangers in friendly against Celtic in Australia

It goes without saying that if Inter Milan do end up replacing the Rangers, it would be a huge deal. While it might not have the attraction of a Glasgow Derby, there is a lot of history between the two sides as well.

It was Inter Milan that Celtic had beaten in the 1967 European Cup final to become the first British club to lift the trophy with the big ears. To this day, they remain the only Scottish team to win the competition.

Also, both Celtic and Inter Milan have two of the biggest global fanbases and as a result, a game between the two sides will always be interesting. Incidentally, with both having qualified for next season’s Champions League group stage, it is possible that they could come up against each other in Europe’s elite competition.

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Celtic target told to reject Newcastle United transfer

The current crop of players at Celtic might be relatively new but they have already proven their worth. Many of them were playing their first season for the club but stepped up to the plate to clinch the Premiership and League Cup double for the Hoops. One of them was Cameron Carter-Vickers. The defender was on a season-long loan from Tottenham Hotspur and one could argue that he was their best player of the campaign.

Defence had been viewed as a weakness for Celtic for some time but they certainly improved at the back following the arrival of the United States international. Of course, those around him also deserve their fair share of the credit.

With Celtic’s season coming to an end, Ange Postecoglou’s eyes will be turning towards the summer transfer window. The focus should be on building a formidable team for next season, with the Scottish crown to defend and Champions League football back after years.

Celtic would surely like to sign Carter-Vickers on a permanent basis and have an option to buy as well. But it could come down to what the defender wants and there is believed to be interest from several Premier League clubs, including Newcastle United.

Celtic target told to reject potential Newcastle United move

As reported by Caught Offside, while speaking on Record Celtic Podcast, Chris Sutton said:

“The fact that Champions League football is there – what an incentive. If I’m Carter-Vickers and I get the opportunity to go to Newcastle for example. Why would I want to go to Newcastle? Other than for the money.”

According to rumours, Celtic have an option to buy included in the loan deal of a transfer fee around £6 million, which could rise up to £10 million due to various add-ons. That would make him one of the most expensive signings in the club’s history but there has been no suggestion till now that the Hoops are not ready to make a move for the defender.

It will be interesting to see though whether Carter-Vickers wants to stay in Scotland or return to England to play Premier League. It is worth pointing out that he was recently called up to the United States national team, on the back of his impressive performances for Celtic.

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Martin O’Neill makes Champions League claim about Celtic

When Celtic got knocked out of the second round of UEFA Champions League qualifying last year against FC Midtjylland, not many would have thought that they would directly qualify for the group stage of the competition the following season. The situation of the squad was not great at that point. They had finished the previous season trophyless and several key players like Odsonne Edouard, Kris Ajer, Ryan Christie and others had departed in the summer.

Ange Postecoglou had a mountain to climb to say the least. Almost one year on though, it is safe to say that he did manage to climb it.

It was a remarkable job to say the least, rebuilding the entire squad, going through a transitional season and winning the Premiership and League Cup double all in the same campaign. The manager as well as the players, many of whom have joined over the previous two transfer windows, deserve immense credit.

Now, they have the base built for a successful future and Champions League football to look forward to. And Martin O’Neill believes that there is no reason that Celtic cannot succeed in the competition. As reported by The Times (via 67 Hail Hail), he said:

“I believe that Celtic’s problems in Europe this season can be addressed. Going straight into the group stage of the Champions League will be a massive help in every respect, particularly on the financial side, because I think they probably need to strengthen the playing side if they’re going to get out of their group.

“That’s very difficult in itself but there’s absolutely no doubt that Celtic can improve in Europe. Rangers have given them the lead this year so why can’t Celtic do it too? Now that Celtic have got things up and running, the manager has got control of the football side of things and is doing really well there’s no reason why they can’t contest it.

“The players have good belief now. I absolutely accept that stepping into the Champions League is something else — and it really is something else. Even if you’re playing at home with 60,000 people roaring you on, it’s still difficult.

“He will be a fella who will relish the challenges in Europe now that he has got something under his belt, as it were. When he was approaching this year I’m sure that, deep down, he thought: ‘Domestically, this is what I want to do, try and be strong and Europe will follow’. He now has that opportunity.”

O’Neill makes Champions League claim about Celtic

Next season will be Postecoglou’s first taste of Europe’s elite competition and also the first time in many years that Celtic have been able to make the group stage.

Thus, when that Champions League anthem hits, one can expect Celtic Park to be rocking. The club were not brilliant in Europe last season but will hopefully improve next time around with more experience under their belt and a year of experience, playing together.

The club also must look towards the success that the Rangers had in Europe this season, reaching the Europa League final, to get some extra motivation if they need it.

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Massive transfer clause in Jota’s permanent Celtic move revealed

Celtic are expected to try and make Jota’s loan move from Benfica permanent this summer. The Portuguese winger has proven to be an outstanding signing for the club over the course of the season and played a major role in their Premiership and Scottish League Cup triumph. And fortunately, there has been some positive news regarding a permanent move recently as well.

Recent rumours suggest that Jota is ready to join Celtic on a permanent basis and the club are also ready to trigger the €7.5 million option to buy clause that they have in the loan deal for the Portuguese youngster.

If the move does end up happening, it would be a huge boost for Celtic without a shadow of a doubt. Jota has been incredibly important to this side. According to stats from Transfermarkt, he has scored 13 goals and provided 14 assists in 40 appearances for the club across all competitions this season.

It is not just Jota’s effectiveness that makes him so good but his overall play as well, as he has a brilliant combination of on the ball ability, trickery and the spark to make something happen out of nothing. If a permanent move was to happen, there would be a massive clause involved though.

Massive transfer clause in Jota’s permanent Celtic move revealed

As reported by A Bola, Celtic have already communicated to Benfica the decision to trigger the €7.5 million option to buy. It would guarantee the club, 70 per cent of Jota’s sporting rights.

That suggests that Benfica would retain a 30 per cent sell-on clause, even if he ended up moving to Celtic in the summer. That is a significant figure to say the least.

Now, whether that would be on any transfer fee that Celtic receive in the future or only on the profit that they make on a future deal for Jota remains unclear. But considering how sell-on clauses work normally, it is more likely to be the latter.

While that would make letting Jota go a bit easier for Benfica, it should not reduce Celtic’s willingness to sign him in one of the most expensive transfers in the history of the club.

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Celtic interested in signing exciting Argentine player

Celtic no longer need a rebuild of their squad, like they did last summer. They do need strengthen it though, as the club are set to make a return to the Champions League after years. While Ange Postecoglou’s side were a massive success in domestic competitions this season, they were not in Europe. The Hoops’ continental record was a bit of a disappointment to say the least as they were knocked out of three different competitions.

One area of this team that has been seen as a weakness for a long time now is left-back. Kieran Tierney was arguably Celtic’s best player when he left for Arsenal in a Scottish record move in the summer of 2019.

Since then, several players have tried to replace in the Celtic starting XI but nobody has been able to hold on to the spot for any consistent length of time. It was just this season that Greg Taylor showed some improvement there.

But with Boli Bolingoli expected to leave in the summer and Liam Scales struggling to make an impact on the first-team, Celtic could do with another left-back to provide competition for Taylor. And as reported by the Daily Mail, they are exploring a move for Argentine under-23 international, Francisco Ortega. He is believed to have been the subject of positive scouting reports.

Celtic are interested in Argentine youth international left-back

Ortega has represented Argentina at multiple youth levels and at the Olympics as well. He is very highly rated to say the least and currently plays for Velez Sarsfield.

According to stats from Transfermarkt, Ortega has scored once and provided 10 assists in 97 appearances for Velez Sarsfield till now.

While most Celtic fans might not have heard his name before, during the time of Postecoglou as manager, the club have shown a brilliant eye for picking out players who will fit into the manager’s style of football. As a result, if they manage to sign Ortega, there will be a lot of excitement around the Argentine youth international to say the least.

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Former Celtic star Fraser Forster linked with surprise move

Fraser Forster is one of the best goalkeepers that Celtic have had since the turn of the century. He was brilliant during his first run at the club and ultimately sealed a big move to Southampton. After some solid seasons with the Saints, he would lose his place in the team though, and then returned to Parkhead on a season-long loan a few years back.

Forster looked like he had never left and enjoyed a brilliant 2019/20 campaign with Celtic, helping them towards a treble. Naturally, the club wanted him back for the following season as well with 10IAR on the line.

Surprisingly though, Forster did not seem interested in another season at Celtic and decided to remain at Southampton instead even though chances of first-team football were low there. This season though, he has been able to establish himself as the starting goalkeeper for the Premier League side once again and appears to have caught the eye of some big teams.

As reported by The Athletic, Tottenham Hotspur have made Forster their preferred candidate to be Huge Lloris’ back-up next season.

Former Celtic star Forster linked with surprise move to Premier League giants

With Tottenham Hotspur looking like the favourites to seal a spot in next season’s Champions League campaign, by finishing fourth ahead of Arsenal in the Premier League table, it looks like Forster could find himself back in the Champions League in the near future.

Of course, going to Tottenham Hotspur would mean having to sit on the bench, when he is playing regular football at the moment. It will be a role similar to the one Joe Hart played for them some time back. Thus, it will be interesting to see what Forster decides to do.

Interestingly, it is Hart who has managed to fill Forster’s void at Celtic Park. Not before a disastrous 2020/21 campaign for the Hoops though, when Vasilis Barkas, Scott Bain and Conor Hazard, all struggled to hold on to the first-team gloves for any considerable length of time, as goalkeeping became a major point of weakness for the club.

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Celtic-linked player confirms he is leaving current club

The Celtic defence improved and stabilised massively during the 2021/22 season when new arrivals had settled in. But deeper cover in those positions, meaning more competition for places in the team, is still a problem to be solved.

Joe Hart has been tremendous for Celtic with the gloves and as a dressing room leader too. But with Vasilis Barkas well out of the first-team picture, and Scott Bain being more of a back up option than direct competition, there’s a need to consider bringing in a fresh face to play between the posts. Amidst all this, one goalkeeper of note, who has been linked with a potential move to Parkhead previously, has just confirmed that he is leaving his current club.

Benjamin Siegrist of Dundee United sent a goodbye message to the club and its fans on his Instagram. The 30-year-old Swiss goalkeeper is out of contract this summer and available for a free transfer.

Siegrist has always managed to pull off some remarkable saves against the Celtic forward line over the years and has been one of the most highly-rated goalkeepers in Scotland for a while now.

Should Celtic make a move for Siegrist this summer?

There are expected to be a number of clubs interested in signing Siegrist now that he is available on a free transfer. So if the Hoops do want to boost their cover and options between the posts, they may need to move quickly.

He has also been linked with a move to the Rangers, for whom he could end up being a starter, considering Allan McGregor is 40 years of age and clearly in the twilight of his career. The veteran has made some high-profile errors this season.

That may be more enticing to Siegrist as well, regular games rather than being cover on the bench at Parkhead to Hart.

The Hoops do have youngster Tobi Oluwayemi coming through the ranks as well and looking to break through into the first team, but that’s a longer term plan more than immediate readiness to step in. There may yet also be a struggle to move Barkas out in the summer, so there’s certainly work to do in the background if Siegrist is to be part of the plan for next season.

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