NIR BITTON has thanked boss Brendan Rodgers for having faith in his ability to cope with central defensive duties.

The Israeli international midfielder has been asked to fill in at the back due to the long-term injuries to Dedryck Boyata and Erik Sviatchenko.

Bitton was looked upon as a risk before the midweek Champions League play-off first leg crunch against Astana at Parkhead.

However, he came through unscathed as Rodgers’ men rattled in five without reply to take a massive advantage to Kazakhstan for the return game on Tuesday.

The stand-in defender said: “I am just trying to do my best every game I play. It is quite a new role for me, but as soon as the gaffer gives me the shout to play I will do my best.

“As I said, it is not about me. It is about Celtic as a team. When we defend well, everyone looks better.

“When the gaffer believes in you and gives you the confidence, then you want to show him that you deserve it.

“I got that confidence from him in the last few weeks and I am happy that we could keep a clean sheet and take a good result away from home and into next Tuesday.”

Bitton added: “Maybe I didn’t show any nerves to the fans on Wednesday, but there was a little bit. These kind of matches are always nervy games. They are pressure games and you need to be at your best.

“I am just happy that we had a good game collectively. As I said, this was an amazing result and, hopefully, we can now be part of the Champions League this season.

“You try to adapt. Of course, Jozo Simunovic, Mikael Lustig and KT are trying to talk with me all the time because it is quite a new role for me.”

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