Celtic have been given a boost by the return of defender Hatem Abd Elhamed to training this week, with fellow Israeli Nir Bitton also back on the training ground.
The Scottish Sun reported that the duo partook in full training on Tuesday morning ahead of tonight’s Premiership clash at home to Hearts after their respective spells on the sidelines.
As noted by The Scottish Sun, Bitton hadn’t featured since going off injured in last month’s Scottish Cup win over Partick Thistle while Abd Elhamed has been out of action since injuring his groin in November’s Europa League win at Lazio.
Abd Elhamed has endured a largely frustrating first season at Celtic, having had spells out injured even before the groin problem that kept him out for the past three months. He was laid low with a virus for a short spell in October (as per @CelticFC) and suffered a dead leg on his debut back in August which caused him to miss a run of games that month (as per TransferMarkt).
Although he played in each of their Europa League group games prior to his groin injury, the 28-year-old hasn’t featured in the Premiership since September, having been usurped at right-back by teenager Jeremie Frimpong in the autumn and seen the youngster keep his place in the side until his recent injury at Kilmarnock. The Netherlands underage international has chipped in with two goals and four assists for the Hoops this season as his consistent performances won high praise from none other than Celtic captain Scott Brown (as per Daily Record).
Another youngster, Stephen Welsh, was given his debut at right-back in the recent win at Hamilton and he has apparently impressed Neil Lennon sufficiently to put himself in the frame for a new contract at Parkhead, according to Football Insider.
Abd Elhamed had been performing reasonably well whenever he had played for Celtic – many fans were impressed by his early displays and he gave a fine account of himself both home and away against Lazio.
However, the Israeli’s injury-interrupted season has seen Frimpong nudge ahead of him in the pecking order at right-back and the teenager is set to return to training this week, as indicated by Lennon to Celtic TV [via thecelticbhoys.com]. If Abd Elhamed is fit enough to feature tonight, he could do with a strong performance to take advantage of Frimpong’s absence in the same way that his younger team-mate did to him in recent months. Otherwise, he could continue to find himself playing second fiddle to the 19-year-old.
Celtic fans, are you happy to see Abd Elhamed back in training after his lengthy injury absence? Do you think he will regain a regular starting berth at right-back? Comment below with your views!
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience