NIR BITTON is on the brink of bringing his nine-year Celtic career to an end.

The 30-year-old versatile Israel ace was signed by Neil Lennon in a £750,000 deal from Ashdod in August 2013 and is under contract until May 31 next year.

However, it looks as though Bitton will be on his way at the end of the season after picking up his seventh title-winning medal with the Hoops all but confirmed as champions following their 4-1 win over Hearts yesterday where the central defender/midfielder was an unused substitute.

FAREWELL HUG…Nir Bitton is acknowledged by Ange Postecoglou at the end of a game.

He has made 37 appearances – 18 from the bench – this season and made a valuable contribution to the club’s Premier Sports League Cup triumph over Hibs in December when he replaced hamstring victim David Turnbull in the first-half.

Ange Postecoglou brought in another anchorman in Yosuke Ideguchi from the J-League on Hogmanay, but the Japanese international has rarely figured after being injured in his first start in the 2-1 win over Alloa in the Scottish Cup on January 22.

The player’s countrymen all figured in the victory over the Tynecastle outfit at a rocking Parkhead yesterday with Daizen Maeda and Kyogo Furuhashi both on the scoresheet and Reo Hatate making an appearance when he came on for Turnbull in the 64th minute.

ON THE MOVE…Nir Bitton surges forward with the ball.

Postecoglou has promised additions to the squad for the challenges of next season and now could be the time for the veteran to move on and the possibility of a Hoops exit has already been reported by Israeli media outlet Sport 5.

Bitton, in fact, had the worst possible start to the season when he was red-carded in the Greek-Australian’s first competitive match. He was dismissed before the interval in the Champions League qualifier against FC Midtjylland in the 1-1 draw in Glasgow.

The experienced 37 times-capped international was banned for the second leg in Denmark where Postecoglou was forced to field untested rookie Dane Murray in central defence alongside Stephen Welsh. Celtic went out 2-1 after extra-time.

CRYPTIC CLUE? An image of Nir Bitton and his children on the Parkhead pitch which appeared recently on the player’s Instagram. 

He also saw red against Dundee United in Glasgow on December 29 when his blushes were spared by a stoppage-time winner from his compatriot Liel Abada.

Bitton may even be given the opportunity to say a fond farewell – if, in fact, he is leaving – to the Celtic fans at Parkhead on Saturday when the curtain comes down on a captivating campaign with the final league game against Motherwell.

Before that, though, there is the trip to Tannadice in midweek to be confronted and then it will be Flag Day in the east end of Glasgow against the Fir Park club.

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