Tom, Nir, James. Identity in the dressing room


Tom Rogic (29) leaves us tomorrow, 8 months shy of a decade at Celtic.  After a couple of loan spells back in Australia he became a mainstay of the Celtic side in Ronny Delia’s second term.  Tom will be remembered as an artisan, a throwback to an earlier era, when grace was more common.

His goals stick in the mind more vividly than most.  The league winner at Kilmarnock, the last-minute winner at Motherwell, he was the scourge of Newco, scoring against them at three different venues.  He leaves Scottish football as one of four nominees by his fellow professionals as Player of the Year.  This season, outstanding performances against Hibs, Dundee United, Motherwell and Ross County all come to mind.  He harvested votes across the season.

Nir Bitton (30) also wears a Celtic shirt in battle for the final time tomorrow.  He arrived seven months after Tom and leaves on a high, bookending his career here with a controlled cameo at Ibrox that saw Celtic comfortably over the line.

Their contemporary, James Forrest (30), signed a new deal yesterday that will keep him at the club until 2025.  All three have more to offer the game.  None were likely to be first choice at Celtic next season, but, when fit, James has the ability, pace, experience and goalscoring threat that the manager values.

Having watched Scott Brown interact with the rest of the squad, I also believe there is an important role in maintaining an identity about the club, one that is best secured from within the dressing room.

You will have lots of memories to deal with tomorrow, none more than the incredible Hampden moment in May 2017, when Tom ran from 30 yards out, evaded two challenges and slipped the ball into the net to secure the invincible treble!  Some heroes are destined to inspire long after they leave.

Click Here for Comments >

About Author


  1. Matt O’Riley can head a ball. Tom couldn’t – apart from one goal I think.

  2. Tom McLaughlin on



    Why are we letting them leave for free???don’t they have 12 months left?


    Presumably because they have given us nearly 10 years of service and can now command lucrative signing-on fees as opposed to transfer fees to Celtic, as a thank you bonus.

  3. Sad that big Tom is leaving but not that surprised, considering the way Ange wants to play.


    Has made some great contributions over the years. As Paul67 says, that goal in 2017 final, was just magical.



    Good luck big man.




    Are we letting them go for free? I thought we made the announcement now so they could get a good send-off tomorrow. Maybe they’ve both got moves lined up



    Rogic and Bitton were our tallest players. One couldn’t tackle and the other was 5’8″ when he jumped.



    Liverpool’s 3 midfielders and attackers against an aggressive Villarreal in the champions league semi-final were Fabinho, one 5′ 10″ striker, 3 guys at 5 9″ and one at 5′ 8.”



    Size doesn’t matter

  5. quadrophenian on

    Shocker of a newsbreak!!


    I turn my back for a few hours and find that two of our tallest timbers are headed for exit door. Lucrative MidEast or China pay day for Tom en route home to A-League ? Happy homecoming for Nir with Haifa ?



    Other big shock of the night was the freebie South Melbourne game to celebrate Ange’s league win for us:


    Disastrous start for South going in 0-3 down at half time and a pretty poor show agains a fluid Avondale. Terrific turnaround to win it 4-3 and, after some tousy tackles and challenges, Avondale was down to 10 men.


    Only about 120 Celts there; very vocal in 2nd half – best chant (joined by South supporters) baited Avondale:



    Three nil and you fu@ked it up, three nil and you fu@ked it up…”



    Note the highest standard, but riveting second half.

  6. Tom


    Is the last year of most contracts, not a 12 month option , that the club can activate or not.

  7. Good luck to both Nir and Tom.



    Both great Celtic men.



    Imo Nir was underated by many but had good football brain and was solid.He had good feet and was comfortable on the ball.



    Big Tam the Hunskelper extraordinaire..what can you say.As graceful a player as i ever seen in the famous Hoops.Skelped tbe huns a few times but his goal to create history and give us and Invicible season will be my fav memory of Big Tam.



    Hail Hail Brothers🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀

  8. quadrophenian on

    Both players had lovely feet and a nice eye for a pass.


    Clearly Tom was on another level at times.


    Wonder if Nir ever felt miffed he was seen as a utility player than a midfield stalwart.


    Hope they go on to really enjoy their next clubs, knowing they helped us thru the most successful condensed period in our history.



    HH both.

  9. Ironic that we have no UCL qualifier next season and Bitton leaves. Has been a good servant but definitely time for him to move on.



    Feel very sad about Rogic. So many huge moments during his career. Maybe just slightly unexpected for many of us I feel. The good news is we have a ready made replacement in Matt. In fact recently I’ve been thinking that Matt has cemented his place in the first 11 in Tom’s place. There is so much more to come from him.



    Can see the sense in keeping James around but surprised at the 3 year term. Maybe one or two years but need to trust Ange.



    I have a feeling we will do seriously good business this summer. So far I’ve been impressed with the business done by Ange and the manner in which Nicholson has done deals.



    AT – thanks for your message yesterday, hope you are well.

  10. TBB – Rogic nearly went last summer. We don’t know where he’s going, maybe a deal is already in place? Or maybe a break clause in the contract.

  11. leftclicktic on

    I was mam sitting the day of the Tom cup final goal, just me and her with me on the edge of my seat.


    Nearly sent her to her grave when the ball hit the net.


    Memories CSC

  12. All the best to Nir and Tom on their next football adventures . I hope wherever they go they spread the word about Celtic .

  13. Andy Patons Mullet on

    Sad to see Big Tam leave, so many glorious memories and still more ability than 99% of the footballing population. Genuinely gutted to see him leave.



    Big Niro as he became known was obviously a man of great character – not the greatest player but not one bit of trouble as he was used in various positions that he did without question and were not his preferred positions either.



    Both big losses in the the squad and I wish them all the best.



    I am away for a wee greet now, remembering Big Tams invincible SCF goal with my youngest beside me, Lifelong memory.

  14. Before this season began I thought that Griffiths, BItton and Rogic should be moved on. I was wrong about two of them. But now it seems right. We need an upgrade on Nir as a defensive midfielder and Tom’s issues with injuries look set to continue. Ange is already planning for next season, that’s great to see.

  15. 79Caps,



    To be clear, Ange wanted them to stay. They both rejected our requests.



    Not sure I’m getting Ange’s logic here, beyond sentiment and some other strangely intangible benefits everyone keeps mentioning, without challenge.




  16. the long wait is over on

    Sorry so see Nir Bitton go – capable of the odd rush of blood but otherwise a solid performer for us who never seemed to complain about being on the bench a lot.



    As for Tom Rogic- my God what a pure, beautiful, inventive football player.



    Sublime first touch , immaculate control at speed and capable of scoring goals no-one else in this country and few elsewhere could score.



    There are so many to choose from but that cup winner against Aberdeen is probably second only to Henrik’s wonder goal in the 6-2 game as my favourite ever individual goal.



    He’s a massive loss to us but also to Scottish football, and I’m gutted to see him go.

  17. Tom McLaughlin on

    On the morning of the 2017 Scottish Cup Final v Aberdeen my mate, my late brother and I were in Kitty O’Shea’s in Glasgow and had a few pints. We left about 1:30 to make our way to Hampden. After about 10 minutes I realised I had lost my wallet containing about £40 cash, a cup final betting slip and my and my brother’s match tickets. Panic stations.



    After retracing my thoughts, it soon dawned on me that, having bought the last round, I had absent-mindedly left my wallet on the bar. I went back to Kitty’s. I told the barmaid what I thought had happened and she immediately gave me a beautiful Irish smile and said, “We have your wallet.” Soon she returned it to me after I gave her my name, and much relieved, I returned to my companions.



    The betting slip was £20 – £10 each for me and my brother – on Celtic to win 2-1. Oh how we celebrated when Tom Rogic scored that late winner, just as we were resigning ourselves to extra-time.



    What a day. What a player. Thank you Tom Rogic.

  18. LEFTCLICKTIC on 13TH MAY 2022 1:37 PM



    I was mam sitting the day of the Tom cup final goal, just me and her with me on the edge of my seat.



    Nearly sent her to her grave when the ball hit the net.



    Memories CSC




    Indeed Lefti,good memories my friend.hope you and the bhoy enjoyed the title,hope to catch up soon. :-)




  19. when fit, James has the ability, pace, experience and goalscoring threat that the manager values.



    and that’s a big if, oh and don’t play him at outside left.

  20. Big Wavy


    I agree. I can understand why Ange wanted Tom to stay, even though it would have been appearances for 60 minutes or as a sub. But we do need a defensive midfielder who is more than just a squad player like Nir.

  21. fieldofdrams on

    I’m sorry to see them both go, whatever the reasons. Tom Rogic, there’s not been a player like him in Scotland these past ten years. With a yard more pace and a bit more dig he would have been world class but he was great to watch. Nir Bitton we’ve been lucky enough to know a bit outside football – a true gent, he was proud to represent Celtic and he’ll spread the word for sure.

  22. When fit RC, James has scored 4 goals this season (1 in league) and 4 goals last season (3 in league).



    He’s missed 53 games in 2 seasons due to injury. He can’t play on the left hand side. His pace has visibly diminished.



    If we were buying a 31 year old winger with that recent record, we’d be up in arms.



    He’s staying around due to what might be and intangibles that don’t win you games.




  23. onenightinlisbon on

    My best wishes to both players although I was never a fan of Nir.



    No sentiment in business though….are they really being allowed to leave with time still left on their contracts?

  24. That awkward moment when everyone is trying to recall their favourite Nir Bitton memory.







  25. onenightinlisbon on

    Nir was a liability let’s be honest. Cost us a number of times through his poor decision making and sheer stupidity….

  26. Always sad to see players leave,34 medals,I think,between them.,but that’s the way of it.I think Celtic letting them move for free,gives them a chance to cash in a bit.Well done.


    O Riley,ready made replacement whom we have not seen anything like,the best of.Watching him before he came on You Tube,he was pinging 40 yard passes all over the place straight to feet.His previous manager even quoted”He could land the ball on a Mushroom from 70 yards,on a wet night in Middlesboro”.


    A lot to come.

  27. I’m guessing that Tom Rogic still hopes to play in the World Cup finals. To do A

  28. Sad to see Bith Nir and Tom go but best of luck to them both.



    We have the new improved Tom Rogic (an upgraded version) if you like in Matt O’Riley.



    It’s a new era and Ange will have players in mind I would imagine.



    D :)

  29. Weebobbycollins on

    “Not sure I’m getting Ange’s logic here…”


    Dressing room continuity….plenty will be leaving, we could afford to have kept them on with their experience.


    They will be missed. Remember Lustig, legs were going but we missed him when he went.

  30. Tom McLaughlin on

    I firmly believe Nir cost us the CL qualifier v Midtjylland with his brainless red card when we had them on the ropes. He had previous form for this kind of folly but to me, that was the final straw. Not my favourite player but when picked, I supported him.

  31. For Tom to play in the aforementioned World Cup finals Australia would have to beat the UAE in a qualifier in Qatar on June 7. Not quite sure if that is the final round, think it is. Guess Tom will be meeting up with the National team in the Middle East sometime before that, or maybe in Oz itself. Be great to see the Australians there again, especially with, I think, NZ there already. And possibly Scotland.