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In a very good place now- Abada return pleases his boss

Brendan Rodgers is convinced that Liel Abada has a big part to play in the run-in to the SPFL title.

When Celtic announced that the winger had signed a new improved contract keeping him at the club until 2027 no one could have guessed at the series of events that were about to be played out.

A week after signing his deal Abada suffered a muscle injury on international duty, a month later war broke out between Israel and Palestine with an injured 22-year-old miles from home watching developments from afar.

Israeli boss Alon Hazan was soon involved accusing the Celtic support of being anti-Semitic as things threatened to get completely out of hand.

On a professional level Abada missed out on an entire Champions League campaign but two appearances off the bench before the winter break should have brought the footballing side round full circle.

It is an aspect of football management that no coaching course could ever prepare you for but with Abada back in action Rodgers is hoping that it can become solely a sporting matter.

The Celtic boss told The Sun:

Liel’s in a very good place now. It was a challenging time for him when he was out, with everything happening in his country.

It’s been about getting him minutes on the pitch but he’s another player who will be big for us.

It’s a situation as a manager where, if you care, you need to communicate with the player, try to understand and have empathy with the situation. He’s a very young guy so he needs help and support. I’m there for him.

You’ll never be the players’ best friend but there are times you have to show that side which gives them comfort and confidence. He’s settled and happy here.

Getting the same level of goals and assists that Abada contributed in his first two seasons could go a long way towards making a success of this season.

He was unable to make much of an impact in his two recent substitute appearances but getting some minutes on the park takes away some of the pressure and strain.

With a short break followed by resuming training Celtic fans will be hoping to see the real Abada in action against Buckie Thistle on January 21 with big matches away to Aberdeen and Hibs fast approaching.

CLICK HERE for Sutton sceptical over Celtic transfer ambitions.

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