It is a possibility, though not one that Brendan Rodgers wants to consider, that Liel Abada may never play for Celtic again. He must acknowledge the fact, but frankly, whether the winger does so or not is currently some way down the Celtic manager’s list of priorities.

The human side of Abada’s predicament comes first for Rodgers, who sees a 22-year-old far away from home thrust into an impossible situation before he sees the promising young footballer. And in any case, if he cannot help shepherd Abada to a place where he is mentally prepared to perform at his peak for his team, he will be nowhere near it.

Abada is still training every day and remains in peak physical condition. He is still revered by the Celtic support for his past contribution to the club. Rodgers is hoping that one day, he will again be able to represent it without the crushing weight of pressure he is currently carrying.

There are outspoken critics in his homeland urging him to quit, and a section of the Celtic fanbase who are resolute in their support for Palestine and their insistence upon displaying its flag.

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It is little wonder then that for the first time, Rodgers is at least prepared to countenance the notion that Abada could have pulled on the Celtic jersey for the last time, even if he is currently focused on nudging him back to a position where one day, he may be able to.

“I don’t think that far ahead,” Rodgers said.

“In my job, how I’ve always managed players and how I’ve worked with players, I’ve always tried to do everything I can and will continue to do everything I can to get him on the pitch for Celtic, because he’s a very, very important player.

“There may come that time later down the line where that might not be the case, but I will always have that empathy for a player and support, and if that’s just not enough, then you know…

“It’s things I’ve done before, and whoever it is I’ll be there for them, and take it from there really.

“I look at him at 22 years old. I’ve got sons older than him. So, I see him as a son, not just an employee of the club or a player in the team. If I had a son in that situation, what would I want someone to do for him in a foreign country and when he has challenges?

“But it’s not just me. He has great support from everyone here. It’s just a shame it’s got to this stage, but let’s see if we can turn it around.

“He’s quite an insular boy anyway but he’s a real good kid. It’s just a shame through no fault of his or Celtic’s that this situation has arisen.”

A leave of absence is something that Rodgers would also consider if Abada felt it would help him navigate his situation here by having some distance from it.

“It’s just about assessing each individual state and situation, and obviously through conversation with the player then of course we have to look at that,” he said.

“But him and I have communicated a lot, and it’s been very open and honest, so we will just assess that as we go along.

“He already did go back [to Israel] for a little period, and again, if that was something he wanted to do then of course we would assess that.

“But I think he’s keen just to continue working and staying fit and being ready, and if there’s a change, then you can look at that.

“It was both of us [who decided he shouldn’t play]. It wasn’t just me. I’ve had other situations where I’ve said to a player to go and look after themselves and make sure their mind is right. But with Liel it was both of us.

“There’s been regular communication and I’ve tried to read it as well. The attitude and mindset is so important, especially when you play for a huge club with expectations. It’s something we’ve looked at it together to try to find the best solution.

“The overriding thing is that I care for people. I can care for them because I care about them. That’s from my upbringing. Whatever you connect it to, I genuinely care for people.

“In a situation like this you can’t just brush it below the carpet.”

What it boils down to then for Rodgers is the fact that Abada is a person, and not just a player. And as a young person, you sense he feels the pressure that has been brought to bear on him from commentators in Israel isn’t entirely fair, and has served only to further complicate his situation.

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“You certainly have to acknowledge that,” he said.

“It definitely plays a part in it, it plays a big part.

“The perception of him playing here and playing at a team that some of the support base…for people looking in from the outside it’s different to what is actually here.

“You see the reception he had when he came on [against Rangers]. The Celtic supporters love Liel and what he has done here, but this is outwith that. It’s still a challenge for him.

“In any line of work, whatever it is we do, the mind is key. Obviously you want to stay fit and healthy, of course, but your attitude and your mind is key.

“In this world and at this elite sporting level, the mind is everything. Now if that’s not quite right, for whatever reason, then the game becomes a challenge. And life can become a challenge.

“This is a young guy, and this is the sadness of this. It’s not his fault, it’s not our fault, but it’s something that he’s right in the middle of and he has to live with it.

“People will talk about banners and what is going on, and I’m one hundred percent sure there will be some people who won’t know where Israel or Palestine is on the map but will be telling him what to do with his life. They won’t have a clue.

“So, this is a young kid who has to live it every morning when he wakes up, during the day and in the evening, and the mind games are there for him.

“It’s my job to help him and support him with that, especially as his family isn’t here.

“He’s had great love from the Celtic support, but it’s more than that.”