With Ange Postecoglou being left with a rather decimated Celtic squad ahead of the trip to St. Johnstone on Sunday afternoon due to a number of injuries, the 56-year-old Bhoys boss may well have been worried of a repeat of the Hoops’ lacklustre 0-0 draw with St. Mirren on Wednesday evening.
However, despite losing talismanic centre-forward Kyogo Furuhashi to yet another injury just 15 minutes into the fixture, two first-half strikes from Liel Abada gave Celtic the lead at the break, before the 20-year-old’s compatriot, Nir Bitton, all but secured three points for the Bhoys in the 81st minute of the match, shortly after Chris Kane had pulled one back for the hosts – with the game ending 3-1.
And, while Abada’s brace may well steal the headlines on Sunday afternoon, it was undoubtedly central midfielder and captain for the day, Bitton, who ran the show for Celtic on Sunday afternoon.
Indeed, over his 90 minutes on the pitch against St. Johnstone, the £720k-rated 30-year-old enjoyed 91 touches of the ball, completed 61 passes – three of which were key – his one attempted cross and three of his six attempted through balls, and took a whopping six shots at the Saints goal.
The £14k-per-week Israel international also impressed in a defensive capacity, making two tackles, one clearance, winning nine of his 13 attempted duels – a success rate of 69% – and drawing one foul for his side.
These returns saw the midfielder receive a rather extraordinary SofaScore match rating of 8.4 against the Saints, with only Abada earning a higher score than his international teammate.
Indeed, A Celtic State of Mind pundit Kevin Graham also appeared to be incredibly impressed with the 30-year-old’s performance on Sunday, stating of the 30-year-old: “Bitton is rampaging about the place as if he’s the Israeli Lionel Messi.”
And, considering his returns from the match, we would find it very difficult to disagree with Graham, as Bitton very much ran for Ange Postecoglou this afternoon.