Celtic picked up a huge result in the Europa League on Thursday night as they beat Ferencvaros 3-2 away from home.
Kyogo Furuhasi, Liel Abada and Jota scored for the Hoops as they picked up the three points, which leaves them third in the group with two matches left to play and guarantees them some form of European football after Christmas.
The likes of David Turnbull, Abada, Furuhahsi and Jota may get the acclaim for scoring and setting up the crucial goals, but Celtic’s unsung hero in the match was holding midfielder Nir Bitton.
Celtic needed a solid base from which to build and the Israeli provided that by putting in a sublime performance in the middle of the park. He started in the number six role behind Callum McGregor and Turnbull and was able to perfectly anchor the midfield to allow the forwards to thrive in the final third.
Defensively, he was superb. As per SofaScore, he won nine of his 11 individual duels on the pitch (81.8%) whilst making three tackles and one block throughout the match. This shows that he was strong in his battle against Ferencvaros and did not allow himself to be bullied in midfield, which helped Celtic to control the game and limited the number of attacks that the opposition were able to build.
He also offered value on the ball. As per SofaScore, he completed 88% of his attempted passes, including two of his four longer pass attempts, and only gave possession away five times from 53 touches. He also had a 100% dribble success rate and was fouled three times, highlighting his ability to retain the ball under pressure and force the opposition into giving away a free-kick.
Therefore, Bitton was Postecoglou’s unsung hero against the Hungarian side. He provided the balance in midfield to allow Celtic to be at their best at both ends of the pitch, and the Australian head coach will surely be over the moon with the 30-year-old’s display. The manager will surely be hoping that Bitton can maintain this level of performance throughout the rest of the season, particularly in Europe.