Should Yom Kippur restrict Liel Abada’s Champions League involvement?

Liel Abada has been celebrating his 21st birthday. The Israeli international winger has been in splendid form this season and must be close to forcing Ange Postecoglou to return him to the starting eleven on a more regular basis than has been the case so far this season, despite Abada turning on the style and looking a better player than last year’s debut campaign.

Even then Abada hit the ground running at Celtic and played a huge role in Celtic’s reclaiming the title from theRangers, becoming a hige fans favourite and getting an early song from the support alongside Kyogo and the manager.

The Champions League Group stages are where it’s at at the elite end of club football and the timing of the competition is very much set in stone. The qualifiers happen in the summer. The group stages are played in the autumn, the knock-out rounds start around Administration Day and the final takes place at the end of May.

Jon McLaughlin of theRangers is beaent by the shot of Liel Abada for Celtic’s third goal during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and theRangers at on September 03, 2022 . (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Recently Liel Abada changed his agent in a move that the tabloids would have us believe signals a desire for winger to move to a bigger league, perhaps the English Premier League. There are plenty of clubs in that league that are happy to remain there but will never get the chance to sample the Champions League experience that Liel Abada can get at Celtic.

Should one of the big clubs in England, let’s say for example Liverpool, look at Abada at some time in the future, a consideration that may be taken into account is his potential ongoing absence from football for religious reasons at this time of the year.

Josip Juranovic and Liel Abada celebrate during the 4-0 victory over theRangers at Celtic Park on September 03, 2022. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

This time last year Liel Abada missed out on Celtic’s trip to Seville to play Real Betis in the Europa League and while Ange Postecoglou did not mention Abada being missing for tomorrow evening’s Champions League visit to Germany to play RB Leipzig, the papers today are claiming that the winger could miss this game for the same reason.

What do Israeli clubs do if they reach the group stages of the Champions League?

According to Daily Record, Celtic’s plan to leave the final decision to the player and it is entirely correct that Celtic should respect the player’s religious beliefs. Celtic have plenty of options on the wide areas with Hakšabanović desperate to be involved, Daizen Maeda, Jota and Champions League veteran James Forrest all available. Ange Postecoglou also has the curve-ball of playing Kyogo in a wider position to allow fit again Giorgos Giakoumakis to start.

IMAGO / PA Images Liel Abada celebrates. Photo Andrew Milligan

With a stronger squad this season it is harder to get a game as for example James Forrest is finding out the hard way. What if Forrest came in, had a great game, maybe scored the winner, does that push him up the pecking order for future team selections?

So it all comes down to how Liel Abada feels about playing during what is after all a hugely important Jewish holiday. Perhaps he will take his family’s advice on the matter? Perhaps his new agent will have an opinion on this as far as it concerns the longer term strategy? For a player of his ability and potential, who could have a decade or more playing Champions League football, passing up these opportunies on an annual basis will be a tough call to make.

But it’s untimately one for Liel and no-one else and no Celtic supporter would criticise him if he decides to sit out games like tomorrow’s.

No doubt Ange Postecglou will provide an update on this sensitive matter later today and whatever the outcome we’ll all accept and respect the decision made.


About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

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