Nir Bitton has returned to Celtic training as he made the trip to Dubai along with his teammates for their winter training camp.
The Israeli has admitted it was an emotional return to fitness after nearly a year on the sidelines through injury.
After falling awkwardly on his knee in Celtic’s visit to Ross County back in November 2017, Bitton played through the pain barrier as he worked as a makeshift centre-half at that time under Brendan Rodgers.
However after featuring in a defeat to Kilmarnock in February last year, the 27-year-old was dealt a huge and unexpected blow.
Speaking to The Daily Record , Bitton said this:
In February I came on as a sub against Kilmarnock and I felt good and had no pain.
But I had an appointment booked a few days after the match so I went down to London with the physio although I wasn’t expecting any bad news.
I went into the room and the doctor told me he had bad news for me. I was a little confused and asked what he meant.
I was told I was required to have surgery and that I’d be out for nine to 12 months. This was a total shock for me.
I felt like my career was over because of the way the doctor was talking.
I felt everything was negative. I left the room. I called my wife and started crying. It was a bad time for me, really tough for my family and everyone around me.
Following his tough times out of the team, Bitton played 70 minutes in the development side’s clash with Hibernian before Christmas and will set his sights on a return to full fitness and the first team.
From here, I’ll put the injury behind me, and my main focus is to get back to full fitness now, have a good time in Dubai with the team, to get back into shape, get some thorough training sessions in.
After the winter break, I’ll keep pushing, keep training hard, and hopefully I’ll get some game time, and hopefully we’ll win some more trophies this season.
With Jack Hendry looking likely to leave the club on a loan deal this month, Bitton could fill a gap in defence after featured in the Celtic guard in last season’s UEFA Champions League against Bayern Munich and Paris Saint Germain.