Celtic midfielder Nir Bitton has explained to the Daily Record why he gambled with his own fitness last weekend.
Bitton has revealed that the magnitude of playing in his first cup final a senior level is the reason he threw himself into preparation for the League Cup final, which he started.
“I’ll be honest with you, at the beginning of last week, I didn’t expect to be fit for the Final,” said Bitton.
“The reason for pushing was it was a cup final.”
“I trained for the first time on Saturday morning and I was a little bit afraid going into the game.”
Bitton featured for 82 minutes of the final, battled well and pulled through the game fortunately with no further repercussions of his ankle problem.
Ronny Deila has the opportunity to rest him this evening for the Scottish Cup replay against the Tangerines, with the upcoming international break presenting a further opportunity for him to rest and recover.
It’s extremely encouraging from Celtic’s and Deila’s points of view that they have a player who is so willing to put himself on the line and gamble with his fitness for the sake of the team.
Deila has used Bitton as a controlling player in the middle of the team and they certainly look calmer and more composed when he’s sitting and pulling the strings behind more creative players.
Throwing a player into a big game with very little training time after an injury is not something that Deila should do on a consistent basis.
On this occasion it paid off in the best possible way, but caution should be the best approach in lower profile situations.