Nir Bitton: Celtic midfielder tested positive for coronavirus while on international duty | Football News


Celtic midfielder Nir Bitton tested positive for the coronavirus while on international service with Israel.

Bitton played Scotland in the Euro 2020 play-offs on Thursday, as Celtic manager Neil Lennon claimed an ankle injury prevented him from being involved.

The 28-year-old is expected to join Scotland midfielder Ryan Christie to self-isolate during Rangers’ visit to Celtic Park next weekend, while Odsonne Edouard is in major doubt after testing positive at outside with the U21s of France.

Celtic confirmed Bitton returned a positive test on Friday, ahead of Israel’s home Nations League clash with the Czech Republic, who themselves initially traveled with just nine players after another outbreak at their camp .

The Scottish champions said in a statement: “We send our best wishes to Nir and all other relevant players or staff within the Israel squad.

“We are in constant dialogue with Nir and we look forward to his safe return to the Celtic squad as soon as possible.

“Obviously, recent events during this international period are very worrying and frustrating. We have worked tirelessly to ensure a safe and secure working environment and from the start of testing our players and medical staff have done a brilliant job under very difficult circumstances.

“While we will never be complacent, throughout our own club testing program our team has returned approximately 2,000 individual negative tests since the outbreak of the pandemic, without any positive tests.

“The current situation has presented enormous challenges for everyone in football and society at large that we do not underestimate in any way.

“While we don’t put any blame on anyone, it’s now a very difficult position for us and, clearly, for all the other clubs. Like all other clubs, we must do everything possible to protect our team and limit what is very clear and obvious risks to the players.

“Under FIFA regulations, clubs are obliged to release players for international duty.

“We will maintain close contact with international associations to ensure that everything is done regarding the care and protection of our players. The priority must be the safety of our players at all times.

“For clarification, all of the Celtic squad who continue to train at Lennoxtown during this time again ALL returned negative tests yesterday. “


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