Johansen was recently named as the Scottish PFA’s Player of the Year, but he’s piled the praise onto the Celtic duo for doing a lot of the hard work for him in the middle of the team.
“Broony (Scott Brown) played a lot when I came last year, but Nir (Bitton) as well has impressed me so much this season,” he said.
“The way they control the game is so important for us. It makes my job much easier. If you find the pockets up there, you know they will find you.”
“They are in good positions all the time. They are very important for the team.”
Celtic manager Ronny Deila deserves credit because he’s achieved an almost perfect balance in the middle of the team.
Johansen sits furthest forward when all three play together, looking for the space and allowing the striker to push higher up, playing on the shoulder of the defence.
Brown does the dirty work, is the aggressive player in midfield and sets the tone for the tempo of the play.
He puts opposition players on edge and that allows the more creative and attacking players in the Celtic side to have a little more time on the ball.
Bitton is the man who sits and pulls the strings, hovering in the area just behind the final third of the opposition’s pitch.
He receives the ball well under pressure from both defence and attack and has the vision to exploit the smallest gaps he can see developing ahead of him.
It’s a great spine to build the rest of the side around and definitely suggests Celtic can build on what they have achieved this year.