Liel Abada’s instant impact in his first outing at Paradise was a major success story of the past week. The Israeli, just 19 years of age, was thrust into the limelight in Celtic’s Champions League qualifier against FC Midtjylland on Tuesday; and instantly paid back the faith shown in him by new boss Ange Postecoglou with a debut goal infront of 9,000 adoring fans at Celtic Park.
Having only played in an 11,500 capacity ground at former club Maccabi Petah Tikva – a ground in which the heavily restricted Celtic Park capacity could have fit in – it will only be a matter of time until Abada plays infront of 60,000 Bhoys’ supporters.
However, even his experience with the limited crowds on Tuesday sent him into shock – and it has left the Israeli hungrier for more.
Speaking to The Scottish Sun, Abada said:
“When I arrived at Celtic Park on the bus, I was in shock with all the fans outside waiting to support us as we stepped off. That was a new experience for me and I hope to make the fans proud.”
“It was an unbelievable feeling to start on such a big occasion in front of the fans for Champions League qualification. I was really excited at the beginning of the game. As soon as the game started and I got on the ball, I gained confidence. The fans gave me a lot of confidence and the players helped me settle and feel confident – that made me feel like I could do something special, and I’m really happy I was able to help the team by scoring.”
Abada was unlucky that defensive frailties from Nir Bitton and Vasilis Barkas ended up with the game finishing 1-1, cancelling out his early opener; but Abada has full confidence that the team can go out and carry on their good form, especially with a week of full training under Ange Postecoglou.
“To score on my debut was the best start I could ask for. I want to continue like this, work hard and show everyone that I’m a good player who can help the team. Being given that opportunity showed me they fully trusted me.
“The training sessions I had with the team really helped me get to know the players, the manager and what the manager wants from me. It gave me an understanding of the expectations around the club. The most important thing for me is to help the team win. It doesn’t matter if I score, as long as the team wins. I feel confident we can win on Wednesday.”