Celtic: Liel Abada flops on his return

After an injury-ravaged Celtic side scored three times in Seville in the Europa League only a few days ago, it was exciting to see what a fitter Hoops squad could achieve.

They were fabulous from an offensive point of view last Thursday but were missing the likes of Kyogo Furuhashi due to injury and Liel Abada because of religious reasons.

The thought of Abada returning to the team on Sunday alongside Jota was a mouth-watering one. Both have been electrifying since signing for the Glaswegian outfit in the summer, but sadly they couldn’t get going against lowly Livingston this weekend.

The hosts came into the game with just a solitary point to their name but once the full-time whistle was blown, they’d added a tally of three points to their collection as they recorded a famous 1-0 victory.

It was a sluggish performance from Ange Postecoglou’s team, who had somewhat of a European hangover.

Should Abada be in the starting XI?

No way!



They weren’t quick in transition and struggled to create regular opportunities for Albian Ajeti, but it was two players who didn’t even play in midweek who were most disappointing.

Stephen Welsh was beaten to the ball all too easily by Andrew Shinnie for the game’s only goal as he got across the young defender and then rifled home a powerful shot.

Celtic’s defensive problems appear to be mounting but what was most concerning today was the attacking play.

Abada was back in the side but delivered a poor performance compared to the high standards he has set since being signed.


Guess the shirt numbers from Celtic’s famous 2002/03 UEFA Cup side. Let’s start with Mohammed Sylla…

In ten matches prior to their encounter with Livi, he had contributed to eight goals. Unfortunately, there was no similar impact on Sunday.

Livingston set up with a low block and the Israeli attacker found life difficult in breaking it down.

So often full of swagger and pizzazz, the winger was a shadow of the player we’ve seen this season, completing just one of his four dribbles and registering two key passes.

Only one of his eight attempted crosses were successful, which led to a dismal pass success rate of 70%. That happened to be the worst of any Celtic player this weekend as he surrendered possession on 18 occasions.

The 19-year-old was incredibly feeble in physical situations too, as he was bulldozed at times by the Livi defence. He finished the game having won just 12.5% of his defensive duels in a shoddy display at Almondvale.

Abada appears to be better when he has the freedom and space to run in behind but that simply never emerged on Sunday.

AND in other news, Move over Bitton: Ange has a rising star in “powerful” rarely-seen 19 y/o at Celtic…