Nir Biton's injury and the bitter taste of international football


Such has been his improvement this season that Celtic cannot afford to be without their defensive midfielder for long.

International breaks are anathema to most football supporters, but as with so much that we do not enjoy there is little to do except grin and bear them.

Breaks at this time of the year are in many ways worse than the bizarre occurrence of a pause in play almost as soon as the domestic season gets going, with many clubs now approaching the final furlong in a campaign that promises much, be that good or bad.

For Celtic it is very much the former, with the first part of a potential treble safely secured and two more cups drawing ever closer.

There is still plenty of work to do if Celtic want to add the Scottish Cup and the Scottish Premiership to the Scottish League Cup they won earlier this month, and that is why these breaks are such hated things; even more so when one of your key players picks up an injury, which has happened with Celtic’s brilliant midfielder Nir Biton.

The 23-year-old did not even start Israel’s Euro 2016 qualifying match against Wales on Saturday evening, remaining on the bench for the first hour.

By that time the damage had been done, with Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale putting Wales 2-0 up.

Would things have been different if the Celtic player had started the match? We will never know, but there is no doubt he has excelled this season and rightly deserves to start for his country wherever possible.

But that is a debate for another day, because Biton - a player who has racked up 33 domestic appearances this season - was injured before the final whistle on Saturday, prompting his country to finish the match with nine fit players after an earlier sending off and Celtic fans to pray the blow was a minor one.

We are yet to discover the extent of Biton’s injury, but if he misses any action for Celtic in a vital run-in, this international break will be remembered even less fondly than it was already fated to.

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