Celtic manager Neil Lennon provided a positive update on the availability of defender Hatem Abd Elhamed ahead of today’s Premiership clash against Ross County.
The manager was speaking about the availability of players following the international break, with @CelticFC on Twitter relaying comments from Lennon on the Israel man, who had a virus in recent days but seems to have shaken it off.
Abd Elhamed returns to Celtic having played the full 90 minutes of his country’s Euro 2020 qualifiers against Austria and Latvia in recent days, as per TransferMarkt.
Lennon told @CelticFC: “Elhamed had a bit of a virus in between the two games but he played in the second game so should be fine for tomorrow.”
Abd Elhamed is aiming to make his first start in the Premiership since mid-September, with Moritz Bauer getting the nod at right-back in the Hoops’ last three league matches.
However, Abd Elhamed has started both Europa League group matches ahead of the Austrian, which suggests that Lennon is eager to give as much gametime as possible to both players.
The Israeli defender has yet to concede a goal while on the pitch in the Scottish Premiership – the goal that Kilmarnock scored at Parkhead last month came with Bauer on the field before he made way for Abd Elhamed in the 79th minute. By contrast, the Hoops have shipped four league goals with the Stoke loanee at right-back.
While the defence may seem more secure with Abd Elhamed as part of it, Bauer has offered more of a threat going forward, with two assists in his four Celtic appearances compared to just one in 10 games for the Israel international.
With Celtic likely to be on the front foot for a large portion of the game at home to fifth-placed Ross County, who have never won at Parkhead and scored just three times in 10 visits, Lennon may stick with the creative threat of Bauer, his preferred right-back option in the Premiership of late.
However, Abd Elhamed’s recovery from his recent virus gives the manager a solid backup if needed, and he could come back into the line-up for the Europa League game against Lazio on Thursday, if not sooner.
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