Brendan Rodgers admits that it has been ‘challenging’ for Liel Abada to produce his best form on the pitch against the backdrop of the conflict in Gaza, with the Celtic manager trying to support the Israeli and focus his mind on his football.

Abada has come under pressure from his homeland to quit Celtic due to the support that sections of their support have shown for Palestine, and Rodgers says that the situation has been difficult for the 22-year-old.

The winger received a rapturous reception from the Celtic fans upon his return to action from long-term injury in late December, but his body language and his refusal to acknowledge the support has drawn criticism from some quarters, with Abada disappearing straight up the tunnel after the midweek win at Easter Road.

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But his manager hopes that with his backing and the support of his teammates, he will soon be back to somewhere near his best. 

“I think what we do is just continue to communicate with him,” Rodgers said.

“My job is to maximise the potential that he has and for that, it’s just about making sure he is in the best place possible.

“There’s no doubt it’s been a challenge for him with everything that has gone on off the pitch. He’s well supported, he’s well loved here, but there’s no doubt it’s been a challenge for him.

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“To play football at your best, you have to be in that really positive mindset and in a good headspace, but we will constantly work with him in order to maximise what we can get out of him.

“I speak a lot to him and he has great support around here, so yeah, it’s not easy, but we just keep working with him to get the best performance out of him.”