A South American football journalist provides insight on Alexandro Bernabei as fans say what to expect from the left-back

Tim Vickery has warned Hoops fans that it will take time for the 21-year-old to adapt to the physique of Scottish football.

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Celtic fans can expect to see “tremendous pace” and “an eye for goal” from new left-back Alexandro Bernabei, according to highly respected South American football correspondent Tim Vickery.

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Bernabei will be competing with Greg Taylor for a starting position in Ange Postecoglou’s backline next season, but Vickery has warned supporters to give their new signing time to adapt to Scottish play.

Speaking to BBC Sport Scotland, he said: “Celtic are getting a player that I really like. He doesn’t have much behind him, partly because of the pandemic in Argentine football.

“He just joined the team there in Lanus, and then Argentine football stopped for a considerable time in 2020, so he doesn’t have a lot of experience behind him.

“But what have we seen so far? What virtues does he bring alongside Ange Postecoglou? Fast, fast little left-back.

“He’s not going to defend like Danny McGrain, that’s not his game. I don’t think he’s a disaster in defense but he’s not McGrain.

loan at Maryhill Juniors in the 1960s. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)” height=”1333″ width=”2000″ srcset=”https://www.glasgowworld.com/webimg/b25lY21zOmNlMWU0YzYwLWVmMmEtNGViNC1iYjQ5LThlODkyNGI3MTEwMjozMzg3Nzg4ZS1iYjU2LTRhNWEtYTk5ZC05ZWFiNGJkMjE3OWE=.jpg?quality=65&smart&width=320 320w, https://www.glasgowworld.com/webimg/b25lY21zOmNlMWU0YzYwLWVmMmEtNGViNC1iYjQ5LThlODkyNGI3MTEwMjozMzg3Nzg4ZS1iYjU2LTRhNWEtYTk5ZC05ZWFiNGJkMjE3OWE=.jpg?quality=65&smart&width=640 640w” layout=”intrinsic” class=”i-amphtml-layout-intrinsic i-amphtml-layout-size-defined” i-amphtml-layout=”intrinsic”>
Danny McGrain spent two seasons on loan at Maryhill Juniors in the 1960s. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“One of the first times I saw him, he wasn’t playing left-back, he was playing on the left wing in a 4-2-3-1.

“What he gives you is terrific pace, with a nice left foot, which can be really useful for set pieces. He can take corners and free kicks and really open up the pitch.

“I think there is also an eye for a goal in him. He is a player who can enter the far posts and score goals. So there are a lot of things that he brings to you, including this ability to open up the field.

“He will have to adapt to an extra physique. The Argentine league is physical, but you look at the players and they are shorter than most of the players he will face in Scotland.

“But what I’ve seen leads me to the conclusion that he has the potential to take that step and maybe even beyond.

“The Champions League puts him in the spotlight. If Celtic weren’t there, I don’t think they would be there and maybe there wouldn’t be the finances either.

“I was surprised to learn that he was the first Argentine to sign for Celtic and, if he succeeds, he won’t be the last.”

Lanus has negotiated a 10% share of any future sale of the player included in the deal, but uncertainty remains over when the Bernabei will be available to make his competitive debut.

He was sent off for headbutting an opponent in what turned out to be his last game for Lanus and the Argentine FA handed him a two-match ban so his suspension could rule him out of the Premiership clash on the opening day against Aberdeen.

Meanwhile, former Celtic midfielder Nir Bitton has signed a two-year deal with the option of a third with Israeli top-flight side Maccabi Tel Aviv.

The 30-year-old, who moved to Parkhead in 2013 before making 274 appearances and helping Celtic win 18 trophies, is returning to his homeland after choosing not to be reunited with former Hoops boss Neil Lennon in Omonia Nicosia in Cyprus.

One of the club’s most exciting academy products, Dembele struggled to translate his initial promise into regular first-team action and injury kept him from making an impact last season.

With his contract expiring this summer and no news of an extension, it looks likely the 19-year-old is set to leave Glasgow.

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