LIEL ABADA is hoping for a belated birthday celebration when Celtic take on Lazio in the Champions League Group E encounter at Parkhead tomorrow night.

The exciting Israel international winger turns 22 today, but, alas, the nearest he will get to the action against the Serie A cracks will be a seat in the stand when he joins 60,000 Hoops fans for an intriguing encounter under the lights in the east end of Glasgow.

The goalscoring wide Bhoy has been ruled out for the remainder of this year and is unlikely to feature until February after injuring a thigh during a training session with his nation’s Euro squad last month.

DERBY DAZE…Liel Abada congratulates Kyogo Furuhashi after the Japanese striker’s spectacular winning goal at Ibrox last month.

His last appearance for the Hoops came in the 1-0 win at Ibrox on September 3 when Kyogo Furuhashi claimed the only goal of the first derby of the campaign. Abada lasted 66 minutes before being replaced by South Korean recruit Yang Hyun-jun.

Abada has already promised to “work hard to come back fitter and stronger as fast as I can so I can give my all to help the team achieve our targets” as he goes through his critical period of rehabilitation.

The forward, signed for £3.5million from top-flight outfit Maccabi Petah Tikva in July 2021, scored on his debut in the 1-1 Champions League qualifier against FC Midtjylland at Parkhead. He also signed a four-year deal at the club last month amid reports the Hoops had kocked back a £7million bid from Sporting Lisbon for the player.

Abada had scored six goals by this time last year with a double against Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Ibrox side in Celtic’s runaway 4-0 triumph at Parkhead, a hat-trick in the 9-0 romp against Dundee United at Tannadice and a single in the 3-1 win over Ross County in Dingwall.

This time around, though, the lively attacker has had to be content with the solitary effort in the 3-1 success over Aberdeen at Pittodrie in August.

As well as a speedy recovery from injuury, the CQN team and Celtic fans worldwide wish Abada a happy 22nd birthday – and hope he has reason for a belated double celebration in Paradise tomorrow night.

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