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BITTON SPARKS CONTROVERSY

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NIR BITTON is at the centre of a club v country controversy with Neil Lennon ready to go to war with Israeli international boss Willi Ruttensteiner.

The classy defender lasted only 10 minutes of the 1-0 win over Sarajevo in Bosnia on Thursday night before limping off and the Hoops gaffer immediately ruled him out of his nation’s forthcoming games.

However, Ruttensteiner included the versatile Celt in his squad for their Euro 2021 play-off against Scotland at Hampden on Thursday and their Nations League encounters against Czech Republic and Slovakia.

But Lennon hit back at the suggestion the 28-year-old star will be equipped to play in the three confrontations and stressed he is also struggling for Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox outfit on October 17.

The Irishman, speaking to the Sunday Mail, said: “It’s going to be impossible. He is not going to be fit.

“His foot is in a pot at the moment to try and get the swelling down. After that there has to be a diagnosis of the damage in there, if there is any ligament damage or not.

“I can’t see him being fit for any of the international games.

“The Rangers game may be a stretch, too, but we won’t know until we have a proper look and get it scanned.”

Lennon is also hopeful of having £3million Swiss striker Albian Ajeti back in time for the Glasgow derby. The former West Ham frontman has netted five goals since his summer arrival, but pulled a hamstring after netting the second in last week’s 3-0 victory over Hibs at Parkhead.

He missed the trip to Bosnia and Lennon added: “He has a reasonable chance of making the squad.

‘Obviously, he won’t be away with Switzerland and he will be working round the clock with the physios over the next couple of weeks.”

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from St Johnstone v Celtic this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.

 
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