In recent weeks, Ange Postecoglou has turned to Nir Bitton as he transitions back into his natural position in central midfield.
The 30-year old is approaching his ninth year with the club, which has been primarily successful given the number of trophies the Israeli internationalist has lifted in the Green and White Hoops since 2013.
Over the years, though, we have seen Bitton feature in several different positions, including central defence in many vital fixtures.
With his recent return to midfield, former Celtic striker Chris Sutton admitted he feels ‘sympathy’ for Bitton, given the switch in positions, which has seen him produce some high profile errors in the last couple of seasons.
“Where I have a bit of sympathy for him is he came to the club as a central midfielder, and I think we’ve all considered him as a centre-half,” he said, speaking on the Record Celtic Podcast.
“Remember the joke at the start of every season where Nir Bitton would be playing at centre-half in a Champions League qualifier? And Celtic were always short.
“But he’s now playing in a position that I think he prefers. Does he do as good a job as McGregor? Absolutely not in there, in terms of the quickness of passing which Celtic require.”
When it comes to seeing Bitton as part of the Celtic defence, you would hope that idea is now in the past, with the options Ange Postecoglou now has.
Although Bitton might have proved to be an okay alternative in the less difficult fixtures, he shouldn’t play there again unless it is a very last resort.
Against both Ferencvaros and Dundee, many Hoops supporters were impressed with his performances in the middle of the park alongside Callum McGregor and David Turnbull.
So, it will be interesting to see whether Ange turns to Bitton in what will be another busy festive period in November/December.
Big Nir is a fine defensive mid who’s working well in the most recent set up. Experienced valuable international level player.
Chris is of course correct but Ange is getting a positive response from Bitton. I like the balance he provides.