LIEL ABADA scored the first goal of the Ange Postecoglou Revolution when he whipped in a close-range drive on his debut in the 1-1 Champions League qualifier against FC Midtjylland at Parkhead on July 20 2021.
The virtually unknown winger, a £3.5million signing from Israeli outfit Maccabi Petah Tikva only six days earlier, clearly had every intention of hitting the ground running in his new career.
Already a full international at the age of 19, Abada also claimed one of the most crucial strikes in Celtic’s surge towards regaining the title that had been so carelessly discarded the previous season in the midst of a maze of mistakes that eventually cost Neil Lennon the job he loved.
THE START…Liel Abada celebrates his debut goal for Celtic in July 2021.
Postecoglou’s side were trailing the Ibrox pacesetters on the evening they met in the derby encounter in the east end of Glasgow on February 2 2022.
On that tense night, the Hoops had the opportunity to go to the Premiership pinnacle for the first time in 18 months.
Abada was the player who set up the tantalising possibility – an unlikely scenario after the team’s three defeats from their first six league games under their new manager.
It was the lively raider who had walloped in the stoppage-time winner against Dundee United only four days beforehand.
That dour struggle was heading for a scoreless stalemate until the determined and focused little raider slammed a shot high into the roof of Benji Siegrist’s net – and was booked for his over-zealous celebrations among the joyous Celtic fans.
It’s history now that Ange’s men routed Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s shell-shocked side 3-0 to move one point ahead with 14 games to play.
Reo Hatate took centre stage with a double salvo with Abada adding a third on the cusp of half-time.
THAT’S MY BHOY…Brendan Rodgers embraces Liel Abada at the end of the 2-1 derby win in December,ber.
The team remained in the same lofty spot until the completion of the campaign to lift the crown after a memorable crusade that defied logic only a few weeks into the season.
Abada, 22, has surely emphasised his worth to the club and the supporters – and that fact was underlined in early September when he signed a contract extension until the summer of 2027.
A couple of days earlier, the Hoops hierarchy had booted out a £7million bid from Portuguese outfit Sporting Lisbon for the player, as CQN
All of this, of course, makes Abada’s current predicament so regretful.
Brendan Rodgers is an admitted fan of the Israeli, but was forced to overlook him from his squad for yesterday’s crucial Scottish Cup fifth round tie against St Mirren in Paisley.
BY THE RIGHT…Liel Abada puts the pressure on the Aberdeen defence in Celtic’s 1-1 draw at Pittodrie earlier this month.
The gaffer revealed Abada could not be considered as he explained the forward’s non-appearance to the enquiring media when he said: “He wasn’t in a right frame of mind.
“It has been a challenging time for him.
“We gave him this chance to have a few days and clear his mind. I’ll have a chat with him again next week, see where he’s at.”
Distressing world events have led us to this sorrowful stage where Abada is edging closer to the crossroads of his Celtic career.
The next month or so will prove to be paramount in Abada’s future.
We can only hope the correct resolution is found to an unfortunate set of circumstances with a gifted young player able to pick up where he left off.
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