LIEL ABADA loves being a wide Bhoy at Celtic – and he gives massive praise to Harry Kewell for helping his game.
The Israel international winger, one of Ange Postecoglou’s first recruits for the club when he paid £3.5million to Maccabi Petah Tikva in July 2021, picked up his third honour in the Hoops’ 2-1 League Cup triumph at the weekend.
Abada came on as a 65th-minute substitute for Filipe Jota against the Ibrox opposition and played his part in another Hampden success story.
He was also a replacement for James Forrest just after the hour mark in the 2-2 draw at Ibrox on January 2 while he put his rivals to the sword in the opening derby of the season with a first-half double in the 4-0 romp at Parkhead in September.
FLYING HIGH…Liel Abada hurtles a lunge from Ibrox defender Borna Barisic.
Curiously, that match was only one of nine occasions the exciting raider has been in the starting line-up in his 26 Premiership appearances this term.
Overall, though, Abada has netted 26 strikes in 91 outings and continues to concentrate on improving his game at the champions.
The 21-year-old attacker said: “I feel like I am a better player than I was last season, to be honest.
“I think I can still learn a lot from the manager and his coaching staff to get even better.
“Everyone has helped me to get better, that’s the coaches and the players, too. I look to improve my performances every time I get to play for the club. You have to do your best every day and that’s what I try to do.
“I think this season [my goal is]to get the left-back one on one more and get confidence. The players help me with that, and the coaches do extra with me after training; help me with what to do, what not to do, what is better for me, what is not better for me.
“I just learn and want to get better and better.
“Gavin [Strachan] and Harry do it with me every time. I just want to get better for me, the team, the club, everyone.
“I think we can learn a lot from Harry because he played in the Premier League and had an amazing career.
ON THE RUN…Liel Abada and Matt O’Riley pile the pressure on their Hampden opponents.
“He teaches us a lot about football because we are young players and want to get better all the time. It is very important for us that he looks after us.
“I didn’t watch him as I was still young. I don’t remember that. I watched videos after I met him and he was very, very good and had an amazing career.
“It is a pleasure for me to learn from this player, just work hard, and it is very good he looks after us.”
Abada refused to dwell on the fact he is not an automatic choice for Ange Postecoglou and, speaking to The Herald, continued: “It is up to the manager who starts the game or not.
“I just want to come on and try to impact the game and to win for the team and everyone connected to Celtic.
“I just have to work hard and try to do my best to help the team when I get the opportunity.
“I think the manager has built a team that stays together no matter what is happening. We are all in it together and we work hard every single day to have success.
“We always look to play the Celtic way, but that togetherness is the key to our success.”
HAMPDEN HALLELUJAH…Callum McGregor holds aloft the League Cup as Carl Starfelt and Liel Abada are among the Celtic team-mates joining the celebrations.
Abada added: “We know what we have to do in every game and that’s it. We just have to keep going and try to achieve our targets. If we can do that, we will have a good season.
“Is the target a treble? We want to win every trophy we can, but we know to do that we have to work hard every single day. Hopefully, if we do that then we will get that target.
“The manager doesn’t let anyone look too far ahead, it is one game at a time. He always says to us to focus on the game and the next opponent, that’s it.
“We look at it day to day and, thankfully, on Sunday we did the job, now we have to keep going.”
On the international front, Abada’s Israel head coach Alon Hazan has suggested the reason the player has not signed a contract extensioon is because he is not a first pick for Postecoglou.
THREE CHEERS…Alistair Johnston, Matt O’Riley and Liel Abada pose with the newly-won silverware.
He said: “Liel Abada plays in a team that are the champions of Scotland and, at least, he is in the rotation of the squad.
“It’s not as if he has disappeared or does not get on from the bench. And his numbers are good, too.
“He may not be playing as much as last season, but he is still playing.
“Maybe his situation is because he didn’t want to extend his contract, but he is still in the squad and being rotated.”
Abada, meantime, now has St Mirren in Paisley on Sunday on his radar and he will be focused on making sure the Hoops atone for their September slip-up at the same venue where they lost to Scottish opposition for the only time so far this season.