Celtic have been dealt an injury blow with the news that defender Hatem Abd Elhamed may well be ruled out for the rest of 2019.
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The Daily Record reported that his agent Dudu Dahan has said he will be out of action for six weeks following a groin problem he incurred in the Europa League win away to Lazio recently, having initially been anticipated to be back within three to four weeks.
As noted by the Daily Record, he will miss the Hoops’ Betfred Cup final clash against Rangers on December 8th.
Abd Elhamed’s absence for the first cup final of his Celtic career is sure to be a bitter disappointment for him and for the club.
The versatile Israeli, who joined from Hapoel Be’er Sheva in July in a £1.6m deal (as per The Scottish Sun), had started all of Celtic’s Europa League group games up to now and was recently lauded by manager Neil Lennon, who said: “For the money we bought him for he’s proving to be real value for money.” (as per Daily Record).
Abd Elhamed has shown himself in the Hoops’ European campaign to be a solid defender who habitually breaks up opposition attacks – he has recorded two successful tackles and 2.5 interceptions per game in the Europa League group stage, with the latter figure the highest in Celtic’s squad. [via WhoScored]
His performances this season have come in for praise from Chris Sutton, who wrote in his Daily Record column that the 28-year-old has been a “signing who looks dependable and safe”.
At least Lennon has the consolation of knowing that he is not short on right-backs in Abd Elhamed’s absence.
Moritz Bauer, who came in from Stoke in the summer transfer window, has provided two assists in his six appearances to date, while teenager Jeremie Frimpong has started three of the last four Premiership games, scoring one goal and setting up another (as per TransferMarkt).
Even though Lennon has a variety of capable options at right-back, Abd Elhamed’s absence for several weeks is a setback for player and club, with Celtic locked in a very tightly-contested Premiership title race and with the Betfred Cup final to come.
The onus now is on the likes of Bauer and Frimpong to make the right-back spot their own and lessen the impact of Abd Elhamed’s six-week absence.
Celtic fans, how big a blow is it to be without Abd Elhamed for the next few weeks? Have your say by commenting below!
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