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Can Kouassi shine for Celtic in Bitton's absence?

Nir Bitton of Celtic in action during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Celtic FC and Motherwell FC at Fir Park on April 9, 2016 in Glasgow, Scotland.

The Israeli is set to undergo surgery which could see him miss the rest of the Celtic season.

Celtic's Israeli midfielder Nir Bitton (L) fights for the ball with Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian striker Neymar during the UEFA Champions League Group B football match between Paris...

It was confirmed by the Telegraph yesterday that Nir Bitton, 26, will undergo surgery after sustaining a knee injury which could potentially see him miss the rest of Celtic's season.

Celtic's 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 sidelined for some time. 

The 26-year-old has not enjoyed as regular football as he would have probably hoped this season, having made only 10 appearances in the league so far for the Celts. However, the Israeli has still had a vitally important role to play, stepping in for the injured defenders at centre-back on frequent occasions. 

Nir Bitton (C) of Celtic is tracked by Josh Windass (L) and Rob Kiernan (R) of Rangers during the Betfred Cup Semi-Final match between Rangers and Celtic at Hampden Park on October 23,...

Bitton's versatility and willingness to step up for his teammates whenever it is required of him is highly vaued by Rodgers, and there is no doubt that he will be a big miss to the squad. 

With Bitton set for a lengthy spell on the side-lines, however, Celtic youngster Eboue Kouassi, 20, has been handed the chance to continue building upon his strong of decent performances in 2018, with the opportunity to play more since his return from the winter break. 

The former Krasnodar player has made 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 currently ahead of him in the pecking order, the youngster's opportunities have been somewhat limited. However, Bitton's injury now means that Kouassi moves one step closer to a regular starting spot, and at least earns him the chance to impact games from the bench. 

Eboue Kouassi of Celtic is seen during a Celtic training session at Lennoxtown Training Centre near Glasgow on March 9, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Rodgers has previously spoken of his desire for the 20-year-old to be Scott Brown's long-term successor, explaining that the Ivorian was brought to the club in the first place to be deployed in the veteran's holding midfield role. 

The Celtic captain could not be a better role model for the youngster, and playing and training alongside the Scotland skipper should work wonders for the young man's 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.

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