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BITTON’S ’50-50′ HAMPDEN CLASH

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CELTIC midfielder Nir Bitton believes Israel’s Euro 2020 play-off semi-final against Scotland in March is “a 50-50 game”.

The versatile 28-year-old Hoops star was injured and did not feature when the two sides met in the 2018 Nations League campaign.

Scotland lost away to Israel, but won the return fixture with a sizzling hat-trick from Bitton’s Parkhead team-mate James Forrest to top the group.

The Celtic ace, speaking to BBC Sport, said: “We showed in the past that we can beat them, we showed that we can compete with them.

“They have a lot of players who can hurt us and we need to be ready.

“I think it is a 50-50 game. It is going to be a tough match for us and for them.”

Bitton has been operating in central defence and in the middle of the park for Neil Lennon’s men this season and his nation may draft him into the middle of their rearguard against Steve Clarke’s outfit.

Hatem Abd Elhamed, who has been struggling with a groin problem since being replaced in the historic 2-1 Europa League Group E win over Lazio in Rome in November, is anxious to overcome his injury to take his right-back berth against the Scots.

The winner of the tie at Hampden on March 26 will face either Norway or Serbia away five days later in a bid to reach the summer Finals.

 

 
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