NIR BITTON will end his nine-year association with Celtic after the final league game of the season tomorrow.
The experienced and versatile Israel international will join Tom Rogic in saying goodbye to the fans during the title party following the match against Motherwell.
The 30-year-old central defender/midfielder, who was bought for £750,000 by Neil Lennon from FC Ashdod in August 2013, had hinted he was on the brink of leaving, as CQN reported at the weekend.
Bitton, speaking to the club website, said: “When I came to Celtic I never thought I would be part of such exciting times and it truly has been amazing to be part of such a great club.
“I have worked with some great managers and team-mates and I thank them all for those times and all we achieved together.
TEARFUL…Nir Bitton looks emotional as he says his farewell. Image courtesy Celtic TV.
“We have dominated the game here for so long and now this year as champions we have done it again, something us as players and supporters we should all be really proud of.
“After a season of real hard work, when many never gave us a chance, we are champions again – the whole squad, manager and our staff were determined to deliver this to our fans.
“I want to thank everyone at the club and our fans for the support I have received during my time at Celtic and I wish the club absolute success for the future.”
HAMPDEN HURRAHS…Nir Bitton congratulates Kyogo Furuhashi after the Japanese striker’s equaliser on Celtic’s way to a 2-1 win over Hibs in the Premier Sports League Cup Final in December.
Bitton will pick up his seventh title-winning medal, but was not listed among the substitutes for the midweek 1-1 draw with Dundee United when the tenth crown in 11 years was sealed.
He made 37 appearances – 18 from the bench – this season and was a stand-out stand-in when he came on for hamstring victim David Turnbull in the first-half of the 2-1 Premier Sports League Cup Final win over Hibs in December.
The strolling international was often an unsung hero, but he was immense against the Easter Road outfit in a game that was crucial to the development of Ange Postecoglou’s new-look team.
CQN would like to thank Nir Bitton for those sort of moments.