NIR BITTON has turned down an offer to return to his homeland with Maccabi Tel Aviv after his departure from Celtic at the end of the season.

The Israeli international is one of Celtic's most decorated players ever after he won an incredible 18 major honours with the Hoops during his nine years with the club, including eight titles, four Scottish Cups and six League Cups.

Bitton, 30, is considering offers to return to his homeland as well as possible avenues with other European clubs.

But he has rejected the first offer from Maccabi Tel Aviv to join the Bloomfield Stadium club, who finished third behind champions Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Be'er Sheva.

Maccabi Tel Aviv are now considering whether to return with an improved offer for Bitton, who played for Israeli club FC Ashdod before moving to Scottish football.

Bitton played his final game for Celtic as a late sub in their 6-0 demolition of Motherwell and signed off with a heartfelt message to the fans.

He said: "It's been a hell of a journey for me but now it's time to say goodbye. I want to say thank you for all these years of pure happiness, years that we created so many memories together.

"For all my teammates, managers and their backroom staff that helped me and supported me along the way. To you...the fans I just want to say thank you. For supporting me through ups and downs and we had some of them along the way and for welcoming me to your club and to your history."