Neil Lennon challenges Celtic star to fulfill his potential

Celtic announced yesterday that Nir Bitton had signed a new 3-and-a-half year contract. The Israeli has not been a regular a first-team starter over the past few years, mostly due to injury, but plays an important squad role for Neil Lennon. Thus, the Celtic boss was delighted to tie down the utility man to Parkhead till 2023.

Nir Bitton joined Celtic back in 2013 and assuming he manages to see out the length of his new contract then he will complete a decade at the club. Upon joining from Ashdod, he was a regular feature in the first-team. But a long-term injury saw him lose his place in the side and he has not been able to gain it back since his return. Instead, Lennon has transformed into a versatile squad player who is called upon to fill in multiple positions when the situation calls for it.

The midfielder has been deployed in defence much more often than in his preferred position, which looks set in stone with Scott Brown and Callum McGregor in the side. But Bitton has done very well in defence as well and established himself as an important part of Neil Lennon’s plans.

Bitton and Lennon celebrate another Beautiful Sunday at Ibrox back in September

Yet, the Celtic boss believes there is much more to come from the 28-year-old and has challenged himself to fulfill his potential with his foreseeable future now at Celtic. Speaking with Evening Times, Lennon said:

“He has fulfilled his potential to a point, but there is more to come. I think he can take more responsibility at times.

“He is talented and powerful. He’s playing really well after returning from his last injury. I thought he was excellent against Hibs on Sunday.

“Before the injury, his performances against AIK Stockholm and against Rangers at Ibrox were really, really good.

“Nir is good around the club and really popular with the boys, so we are very pleased.

”He can play a few roles really well. Ultimately, I see him as a midfield player, but when he slots in at centre-half it’s seamless for him.”

Bitton is back in the team at this moment and performed really well in the last few games. And if he continues to perform in the same vein, it is only a matter of time before he starts to rack up significant minutes and fulfills the potential that Lennon is talking about.

Here’s his Media Conference from yesterday afternoon – as you can see he’ clearly delighted to sign his new deal with the Hoops.


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Sourav Mahanty is a staff reporter on The Celtic Star providing readers with the latest news stories as they break.

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