LIEL ABADA has admitted he is enjoying the rough and tumble of Scottish football.
The 19-year-old winger has hit the ground running since his £3.5million switch from Israeli top-flight outfit Maccabi Petah Tikva in the summer and emphasised his intent when he netted on his debut in the 1-1 Champions League qualifying first leg against FC Midtjylland in July.
Unfortunately, Abada’s first appearance was cut short just before the interval when his compatriot Nir Bitton was red-carded and Ange Postecoglou threw on Dane Murray to shore up his defence.
The lively raider, who has already claimed four goals, also revealed he turned down the opportunity to go to Greece and the States to agree a four-year contract with the Parkhead outfit.
SKY’S THE LIMIT…Liel Abada looks upwards after his debut goal against FC Midtjylland in July.
Abada said: “It’s usually very difficult to integrate so quickly in a new team, but both the players and the staff gave me confidence from the first moment I arrived.
“I enjoy it very much here. At first, there were concerns about how I would get on with the language and lack of friends here, but Nir Bitton welcomed me and I immediately started to enjoy it.
“It’s not as simple as people think to move to a country at such a young age. It’s leaving family, friends, everything close to you.
“Fortunately, since I arrived, there are people who are with me – my girlfriend, my uncle, my agent, my sister, her husband and my father who came for a holiday.
“When I got to my first training session at Celtic it had a very high pace and I had a hard time. The level and pace of training were at a very high level, but I got used to it.
ONE GOAL COMING UP…Liel Abada prepares to switch the ball to his left foot before scoring in the 6-0 win over St Mirren.
“Off the pitch, I am doing language lessons twice a week. Glasgow is very good. There’s everything here in terms of shops and restaurants. The only bad thing is that it is always cold here and it was also very difficult for me at first to drive on the left side of the road.”
Abada continued: “The levels here are much higher than in Israel. At Celtic, the facilities are excellent.
“The fans here are amazing. It’s very exciting for me that they already have a song for me, I need to repay them for the welcome.
“My dad always taught me to work hard for things and I earned the right to move to a great club with a good contract. He’s taught me to keep my feet on the ground.
“There’s no chance of this going to my head because I earn large sums of money now. I always listen to him for his advice.
BY THE LEFT…Liel Abada shows the quality that is making him a Celtic fans’ favourite.
“He worked from 5am to the evening to try to help me. When I told him I had signed for Celtic he cried down the phone. He is an amazing person and we have a special relationship. We can talk about anything.
“There were other clubs interested in me like Olympiakos and a club in the USA, but I had no regrets at all about signing for Celtic.”
Abada, speaking in a report in the Daily Record, added: “I think I am improving all the time here. I need to get better in the air and physically, too.
“The higher the level of football you play, the more physical it becomes and Scottish football is very fast and tough.
“I’ve been working hard in the gym, too, with the fitness trainer at the club. I am really happy with the way it has gone.”