Liel Abada on his Celtic model as Israeli addresses Crystal Palace transfer links

Liel Abada might have hit the ground running at Celtic.

But the young Israeli admits it took him time to adjust to life in Scotland.

Abada became one of the first pieces of Ange Postecoglou’s puzzle when he arrived in a £3.6m move from Maccabi Petah Tikva last summer.

The relatively unknown youngster exploded onto the scene with a debut goal in a Champions League qualifier with FC Midtjylland.

It was the winger’s first of 15 strikes as he helped Hoops to a league and cup double.

On the park, Abada exceeded all expectations. Outside the park, he credits fellow countryman Nir Bitton for helping him settle on foreign soil.

In an interview with Ynet, he said: “It was hard because I arrived and I had to get to know everyone, the team and the style of play. It took time, but at the end I adapted.

“When you come to a new place, there are more worries, a little less confidence. But everyone gave me all the confidence I needed.

“It took me a while to get used to the cold, but mostly driving on the other side. Over time, I got used to it and everything.

“You learn a lot about coming of age. You deal with situations that you haven’t dealt with in a lifetime and it opens your head to much bigger things.



Liel Abada with close friend Nir Bitton

“In terms of the language, at first it was very difficult for me, but I learned it. If I needed help, then Nir would help me.

“Usually when you go out to a new place, especially abroad, it’s harder to adapt. Fortunately, I have a friend for life, Nir Bitton. He helped me adapt quickly and with everything: home, car and more.

“I thank him for that and I’m happy for this season. I came to Celtic with expectations and as the games progressed and I won and cooked, I raised my expectations even more.

“I’ve been a very close friend of his since I arrived at Celtic. He’s come an incredible journey in the team with all the titles he’s won.

“He is an admirable figure for everyone in the country. Obviously, he was a symbol here. Everyone loves and appreciates him.”

While Bitton has decided to end his trophy-laden nine years at Parkhead, Joe Hart will continue to take Abada under his wing.

Former England international Hart is one of the key figures in the Hoops dressing room and has always kept tabs on the 20-year-old.

Abada explained: “At the end of one of the matches, they wanted to interview me and I said that I didn’t feel comfortable enough with the language.

“So Joe came over and told them he would do it for me. He’s a good friend of mine, a player who’s had an incredible career with lots of titles. He’s a role model for me.”

Abada’s explosive form has reportedly caught the attention of Crystal Palace, who poached Odsonne Edouard at the start of the season.

However, the weighted striker refuses to pay heed to speculation as he underlines his commitment to Celtic.

He said: “I’m only looking after Celtic at the moment. I’m good here, I like the players, the fans and the team.

“I feel like home and all my focus is here. In the future? I can’t know what’s going to happen and it’s not fair to talk about it.”

Rebecca R. Santistevan