NIR BITTON is determined to make up for lost time after spending most of last season on the sidelines through a complicated knee injury.

The Israeli international midfielder made only five starts during a frustrating campaign.

However, the 27-year-old versatile performer has already made two Champions League qualifying appearances in the 5-2 aggregate victory over the Bosnians of FK Sarajevo.

Bitton has slotted in beside Jozo Simunovic in the heart of the rearguard while boss Neil Lennon has refused to take any risks on the match-fitness of £7million new signing Christopher Jullien.

The next hurdle on the trek to the riches and glory of the group stages of Europe’s elite competition will be provided by Nomme Kalju, of Estonia, with the first leg at Parkhead on Wednesday.and the comeback Bhoy is hoping to get the nod to play his part again.

Bitton speaking to this week’s Celtic View, said: “My aims coming into this season are to play as many games as I can for Celtic.

“I want to win trophies and try to help the team win. Every single minute I get the chance to play, I’ll try to do my best for the team, the fans and my family. Celtic is a massive club and this club has given me a lot, so I want to repay that in any way I can.

HEAD BHOY…Christopher Jullien has yet to start a competitive game.

“It’s always good being able to play in a few different positions. It’s always good for the manager to have players like that. I don’t mind playing centre-mid or centre-back, wherever the gaffer wants me to play I’ll play and try to do my best.

“When you can show your worth in multiple positions then you have a greater chance to play. I’m not thinking too much about where I play, only that I can help the team.”

Bitton added: “After you go through such a bad injury and it keeps you away from football for such a long time it changes you.

“Right now I can see how it’s changed my thinking and my mentality. Before when I didn’t play I’d feel angry, whereas now I just appreciate every moment.

“I still want to play every game, but now disappointment doesn’t hurt as much because I know it could be a lot worse. I appreciate every moment on the pitch. The most important thing for a professional athlete is to be healthy because if he’s not healthy, he can’t do what he loves.

“I feel like I’m back to my best now and I’m just trying to help the team, play well and we’ll see.”

Bitton went out on a high after a season of torment when he made a cameo appearance in the Scottish Cup Final triumph over Hearts at Hampden on May 25 to seal the historic treble treble.

Now the brave battler has set his sights on an extended run in the Hoops’ first team – in defence or midfield.

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