Celtic fan favourite Nir Bitton opens up on crunch talks with Deila, considered leaving

Celtic ace Nir Bitton has admitted he considered leaving the club.

Celtic fan favourite Nir Bitton has told Eurosport that he held crunch talks over his future with manager Ronny Deila, and even considered leaving the club.

Bitton, 23, joined the Bhoys from FC Ashdod in 2013, with Neil Lennon snapping the Israeli up as a possible replacement for Victor Wanyama, who joined Southampton.

A powerful defensive midfielder, Bitton has now become a key figure at Celtic, and committed his long-term future to the club earlier this week by penning a contract extension until 2020.

However, it's easy to forget that Bitton wasn't always such an important player at Celtic Park, having endured something of a difficult start to life in Scotland.

The midfielder struggled to earn a regular first-team spot under former boss Lennon, and his replacement Deila wasn't so keen on using him early in to his spell as manager.

However, Bitton has admitted to Eurosport that he held talks over his future with Deila last season, and considered leaving the club - but felt he was eventually convinced to stay and improved his game in order to become the regular Celtic star he is right now.

"I will be honest, yes, because every player wants to play," said Bitton. "It's not because I wanted to leave Celtic. In the beginning I didn't play much, even in the first year with Lenny (Neil Lennon). I came here when I was 21 years old, it was first time away from home and Israeli football and it was a little bit difficult."

"The tempo in Scottish football is much higher than the Israeli league. I knew it before I came here but I didn't realise the difference. I had a good conversation with him (Deila) last year. I didn't realise why I wasn't playing and when you don't know why you don't play, you cannot change the thing you need to improve."

"After the conversation with the gaffer I tried to change, tried to show him that I deserved to play and I got my chance. I tried to change a lot of things but the most important thing that the gaffer wanted me to change was the pace of the game," he added.

That new deal means Bitton should remain a key figure under Deila, and having seen Fraser Forster, Virgil van Dijk and the aforementioned Wanyama move to the Premier League, Celtic fans can look forward to seeing Bitton in the famous green and white hoops for some years yet.

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