It was confirmed by The Daily Telegraph via Football Weeks yesterday night that Nir Bitton, 26, will undergo surgery after sustaining a knee injury which could potentially ruled the player out of Celtic’s season.
The Bhoys injury crisis seems to worsen each time a player returns to fitness, with Craig Gordon and Leigh Griffiths among the list of players who have been ruled out for some time now.
Bitton has not enjoyed a regular playing time for the club as he would have probably hoped this season, having registered only 10 appearances in the League for the Scottish champions so far. However, the Israeli has still have a vitality important role to play for the club, stepping in for the injured defenders at centre-back on frequent occasions.
Bitton’s versatility and willingness to step up for his teammates whenever it is required of him is highly valued by Rodgers, and there is no doubt that he will be a big miss to the squad.
With the Israeli set for a lengthy spell on the side-lines, however, Celtic youngster Eboue Kouassi, has been handed the chance to continue building upon his strong of decent performance in 2018, with the opportunity to play more since his return from the winter break.
The former Krasnodar player registered six appearances so far this season and, still aged only 20, he has a bright future in the game.
With Scott Brown and Olivier Ntcham current ahead of Kouassi in the pecking order, his first-team chances have been somewhat limited. However, his injury now means that he moves one step closer to a regular starting spot, and at least earns him the chance to impact games from the bench.
Earlier in the season, Rodgers has previously spoken of his desire to make Kouassi Scott Brown’s long-term replacement, explaining that the Ivory Coast internationa was signed to Celtic in the first place to be deployed in the veteran’s holding midfield role.
Brown could not be a better role model for the youngster, and playing and training alongside him should help lift his game.
There is no doubt that Bitton’s injury is a huge blow to Celtic but, if it gives Kouassi the chance to develop his game further on the pitch, the club may be reaping the benefits in the not too distant future.