NIR BITTON is the odd man out among Celtic’s international contingent which was on display in their nations’ double-headers over the past five days.
The versatile performer is the ONLY Hoops star from nine on show who played every minute of the two games – Israel’s 3-2 loss to Scotland in the World Cup qualifier at Hampden and the 2-1 win over Moldova in Be’er Sheva last night.
There was also an outing for winger Liel Abada who came on as a 74th-minute substitute for Munas Dabbur, who claimed his side’s second and ultimately winning goal.
HAMPDEN HOORAYS…Callum McGregor and ex-Celt Craig Gordon acknowledge the crowd after the 3-2 win over Israel.
Hoops skipper Callum McGregor played in the dramatic stoppage-time winner over his team-mate Bitton in Glasgow at the weekend, but had to wait until the 68th minute to make an appearance in the struggle against the Faroe Islands in Torshavn.
Manager Steve Clarke sprung a surprise by leaving his anchorman on the substututes’ bench at the start, but, with the game ebbing away and locked at 0-0, he threw on the experienced 28-year-old midfielder for ex-Celt Jack Hendry and Lyndon Dykes grabbed a freakish winner four minutes from the end, as CQN reported last night.
Midfielder David Turnbull remained an unused sub on both occasions.
DEJECTED…Nir Bitton at the end of the Hampden defeat.
WAITING IN THE WINGS…Liel Abada among the Israeli substitutes at Hampden.
In Japan, Kyogo Furuhashi came off the bench for the second consecutive game when he entered the fray on the hour mark against Tom Rogic’s Australia.
The Hoops’ top marksman with eight goals was involved in the scrambled winner four minutes from the end when he forced defender Aziz into a hurried clearance that ended in the net to cement a 2-1 victory.
Playmaker Rogic was withdrawn from the action in the 81st minute.
Albian Ajeti, recalled to the Switzerland squad after scoring three goals for Ange Postecoglou’s side, remained among the stand-by squad for his nation’s ties against Northern Ireland and Lithuania.
WORLD CUP CHAT…Kyogo Furuhashi and Tom Rogic after Japan’s late win over Australia.
At least, the £5million ex-West Ham striker got close to the action – Carl Starfelt and Liam Scales were left in the stand for their countries’ games.
The centre-back, who arrived at Parkhead in the summer in a £4.2million switch from Russian club Rubin Kazan, was overlooked for the Sweden stripped squad for the matches against Kosova and Greece.
Scales, a late call-up by Republic of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny, went through an identical experience in his nation’s outings against Azerbaijan and Qatar, as CQN reported earlier this morning.
The good news for Postecoglou is that none of his nine stars appears to have sustained any sort of injury during the international break and should be back at Lennoxtown tomorrow fit and raring to go against Motherwell at Fir Park on Saturday.