NIR Bitton has no desire to leave Celtic despite losing his first team place to Stuart Armstrong under new manager Brendan Rodgers this season.

Speaking in Dubai, where the Scottish champions are on a warm weather training break, this week Rodgers admitted he would understand if Bitton wanted to move on in order to get game time.

However, the central midfielder, who signed a contract extension last year that ties him to the Parkhead club until 2020, is determined to stay and force his way back into the side.

The 25-year-old has been linked with moves to Fulham in the Sky Bet Championship in England and Espanyol in La Liga Spain since being relegated to the bench in Glasgow.

But there has been no contact from either of those clubs during the January transfer window and the Israeli internationalist isn’t interested in departing despite his lack of first team involvement.

The imminent arrival of Kouassi Eboue, the 19-year-old Ivorian who is poised to sign for Celtic after holding talks, could limit his chances further.

Bitton has only started once for Celtic since coming off in the Betfred Cup semi-final victory over Rangers at Hampden back in October.

He was in the Rodgers’s team from kick-off in the Ladbrokes Premiership victory over Dundee at Celtic Park last month and scored the winning goal.

Armstrong, who was this week named as the Ladbrokes Player of the Month for December, has done superbly since displacing his team mate and scored five goals last month.

But sources in Israel have revealed that Bitton, who became a father for the first time last month when his wife gave birth to a baby daughter, is completely focused on helping Rodgers’s team to win a sixth consecutive Scottish title.

In fact, the 6ft 5in defensive midfielder, who moved to Scotland from home town club Ashdod in 2013, would be content to see out the remaining three years of his contract.

Bitton was linked with a summer transfer to the Premier League in England back in 2015 after his agent Dudu Dahan gave an interview to a radio station in his homeland.

However, both the player, who had just signed his new deal, and his representative vehemently denied that he was seeking a move away from Scotland.

Rodgers said this week: “Players wanting to play is a natural thing. For players it’s generally about game time and money and it can be difficult.

“He (Nir) was unfortunate when he came off against Rangers that Stuart came in and flowed, but that’s football. He’s come into games and done his job well.

“I’ll always have conversations with players. If what any player wants to do marries with the thoughts of the club then it’s fine. I respect it’s a short career. I’ll see what offers come in and assess if from there.”