CELTIC star Nir Bitton has been called a football great after his sensational goal for Israel.

His long-range effort put his country level against Cyprus in the Teddy Kollek Stadium, although the visitors won the match meaning Bitton's team are struggling to finish in a play-off place in their European Championship group.


The 23-year-old midfielder's yellow card on Saturday night means he is out of tomorrow's must-win match in Belgium, which is good news for Ronny Deila who will welcome the fact his best player of this season has been spared another tough 90 minutes.

Bitton's goal made him famous throughout Europe over the weekend and it lead to the Israel coach, Eli Guttman, highly praising the player who has become a superstar in his homeland.

He said: "If all of the players were like Nir Bitton we'd be in good shape."

And then added: "Nir could be come a real great in football. He has improved so much and is a fantastic talent."

We reported last week that Arsenal have scouted Bitton, who has said he wants a new contract with Celtic, and there will surely now be far more clubs in England and across the Continent who will keep an eye on his progress.

Bitton cost Celtic just £700,000 when he signed from FC Ashdod, however, such is the progress he has made since then that any future transfer fee would easily be over £10million following in the footsteps of Victor Wanyama, Fraser Forster and Virgil van Dijk.

Celtic supporters are understandably worried he will be the latest to leave, but Bitton has stressed on a number of occasion that he was comfortable in Glasgow and in no rush to leave.

Fellow Parkhead playmaker Stefan Johansen believes his Norway side can beat Italy in Rome tomorrow night and secure their place in the finals of the European Championships.

Norway beat Malta at home on Tuesday and even a draw against the Italians might be good enough if Croatia, two points behind them in third place, slip up away to the Maltese.

Johansen said: "We’re going to Italy to win and get the three points.That is what we are banking on, we must do what we are good at, and then we’ll see how it goes.

“This is a very tight group but we have to be optimistic. It’s in our favour that Italy have qualified, but at the same time they can play without pressure.

"With the quality that they have it might make them even better.”

A decision will be made this week on Carlton Cole, who according to reports is wanted by Sunderland new manager Sam Alardyce. The two worked together for many years at West Ham United.

Bolton Wanderers have also been credited with an interest, but any move that kept him in the Premier League would suit the veteran strike.

Cole has trained with Celtic and talks did take place, with nothing decided in terms of whether he would agree a deal even until the end of this season.