Nir Bitton argues that Celtic players don’t deserve to be ‘killed’ and that they all play for Neil Lennon.

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NIR BITTON has hit back on charges that some Celtic players don’t give their all to manager Neil Lennon, with the Israeli claiming they don’t deserve to be “slaughtered” the way they’ve been late.

Bitton is confident that Celtic will reverse their poor run of form, giving them just two wins from 11 games after the 4-2 loss to AC Milan last night.

In that time, the team conceded 27 goals, but Bitton insists that the squad is united behind their coach and that soon they will turn things around.

Bitton said, “We always play for the coach,” “In the seven years I’ve been here, it’s always been that way.

“What is being said from the outside is nonsense. I’ve never heard someone suggest that they’re not playing for the boss.

We all have a good friendship with him. We all play for ourselves at the end of the day. For our pride, our friends, and for the fans, we play.

“We don’t like being killed. After what we’ve done, particularly for the last four years, I don’t think we deserve that.

But this is soccer. For the fans and for the players, we have to look forward to creating more happy moments. I have no doubt that we will be able to do that.

At the moment, we have a poor run of games, but we all love each other and play for each other, as we always have.

Things can change. It seems like something strange has happened from the outside, but that’s far from the case.

We are good and in the squad we have sufficient talent to make it – we can make it.

“With the intention of winning, we go into every game. But we win together and we lose together.

It’s the manager who takes the criticism, but we deserve it because we’re not playing at the level we want at the moment. This doesn’t have anything to do with the boss.

“We have to play for each other and with the quality we have in the squad, I’m sure we’ll get there.”

Bitton acknowledged, however, that at the moment Celtic are making goals far too quickly.

He said, “We’re just a bit unlucky, everything is going against us,”

But that’s not an excuse. Not as people, but as a team, we need to defend better.

We conceded [against Milan]four goals, but we defended well for long stretches of the game. We played against a top Serie A team and were lightweight.

“We just have to keep moving and believe in ourselves, I guess. The results will come after that.

We have conceded four targets, and that at this stage is not good enough. At any standard, it isn’t good enough. But in general, I think we showed how successful we can be for a few moments.

We are still a good team. Outside the team, we don’t listen to anybody.

“We believe in our quality, we have a strong squad, we have belief in ourselves and we have to show that now.”

Celtic are now turning their focus to the must-win game against St. Johnstone on Sunday, but Bitton says they are going to do it the same way they always do.

“As important as any other game,” he said, “it’s just as important. “We go into every game we want to win and give everything we have on the field.

“That doesn’t always work out, but there’s always an objective.

“We need to win and hopefully we’ll put in a good performance.”

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