Neil Lennon will need to use all of his managerial skills to pick up Celtic’s Israeli right-back Hatem Abd Elhamed. The player suffered international heartbreak on Monday night, as Israel surrendered a 2-1 lead and conceded a late goal to lose to Slovenia 3-2.
Interestingly, Elhamed played the entire game for Israel as part of a three man defence. He has not done this in his brief spell at Celtic so far.
Lennon will need to tell Elhamed that the late goal was just one of these things, and that his performances for Celtic have been excellent.
Seems certain to start next Hoops game
It is likely that Elhamed will not get any rest even after the international fixtures, as he seems certain to start for the Hoops against Hamilton on Saturday.
The reason for that is the injury issues the Hoops have in defence. It is likely that both Kristoffer Ajer and Jozo Simunovic will miss the game.
Therefore, Elhamed will likely play at centre-back once more. He did this in the second-half of the recent win against Rangers.
The experience he has in the loss to Slovenia could come in handy then. Elhamed has started off his Celtic career very well. Arguably his best performance so far came in the win over Rangers. He played well at both centre-back and right-back.
It looks like the game against Hamilton will be the first time that he will play a full game at centre-back for Celtic. Neil Lennon will have no concerns if he has to partner Christopher Jullien.
A goal would curb disappointment
Maybe a first goal for Elhamed would be the perfect way for the player to get over his international disappointment. A towering header from a corner to give the Hoops the lead.
Should Elhamed play well at centre-back, perhaps Neil Lennon will consider playing him in that position in the Europa League opener against Rennes.
That may depend on injuries, however. First and foremost, he has to bounce back from international disappointment against Hamilton. With some comments from Neil Lennon, he should be more than capable of doing that.