CELTIC have been hit by a problem pile-up as they prepare for the crucial encounter with Dundee at Dens Park tomorrow night.
Centre-half Dedryck Boyata and midfielder Stuart Armstrong added to Ronny Deila’s worries as they sustained knocks in the 2-2 draw with Hearts at Tynecastle.
Inspirational skipper Scott Brown is still out, while top scorer Leigh Griffiths is not guaranteed to be back just yet. Plus playmaker Kris Commons is also struggling.
Nir Bitton has been success story in an inconsistent campaign from the champions and he insists the Hoops can do much better after shedding five points out of six in their last two games against the Edinburgh outfit and Motherwell.
The classy Israeli international midfield man said: “Should we be further ahead? If we look at ourselves, we have to admit that we have dropped a lot of points.
“These kind of things happen. But we know that we have to be at our best in every game. That means playing like we did on Sunday at Tynecastle. Everyone was up for the fight and we all fought for each other.
“When we want to win, we start from there. Everyone knows the quality we have in the team. But we need to fight before we bring the qualities into the game.
“We will try to play as we did on Sunday for the rest of the season. When we fight for each other and do the simple things, we look good.
“Against Motherwell at home last week, we didn’t do any of those things and lost the game.
“We just need to make sure we do the same things as we did against Hearts. Then we will win the games.
“We now go to Dundee wanting to win, which is exactly what we wanted to do against Hearts. We all need to understand that this is going to be a difficult game for us and we need to be fully prepared for it.
Bitton added: “Personally, it has been a good year. I established myself in the team, I played good football and, of course, I still want to improve myself.
“But I can’t play good football if the team is not playing well. All the credit goes to my team-mates and the staff. I always want to continue to improve myself. Celtic is the best stage for me.
“I played in Israel before, so this is very different for me. There is a lot more pressure and expectation at Celtic. I think the Scottish league is better than the Israeli league, maybe not in technique, but the tempo and pace is better.
“I have always said that a goal is just a nice bonus for me. The most important thing is to win the games and to help my team-mates to be the best players. Sometimes I score, but, as I said, they are just a bonus.
‘”I want to take responsibility in every game — even if Scott is playing in the team. He has now been missing for a while and everyone knows how important he is to Celtic.
“I just want to step up in every game.”
It’s a mantra that all of Bitton’s Parkhead team-mates will have to take to heart in the coming weeks, with Aberdeen still fighting for points.
Against a Dundee side who shipped five goals to Ross County in Dingwall on Boxing Day, Deila’s men — even if the injured contingent don’t make it to Dens — should have more than enough in the locker to secure what would be just a third victory in their last eight fixtures.