Connell chipping away; Elhamed all smiles - takeaways from Celtic training video

By David Walton

December 30, 2020

As Celtic posted their regular training video, we take a look at three of the main takeaways from it.

It’s been another big week at Parkhead with yet another to come. Wins against Hearts, Ross County, and Hamilton helped build yet more momentum in Glasgow’s East End.

However, it doesn’t get any easier from here. A home clash against Dundee United awaits tonight. Rangers at Ibrox is creeping up on Saturday too. All of these games are must-wins, and Neil Lennon will know that too.

So as we prepare to take on Utd this afternoon, we have a look at the three main takeaways from the club’s most recent training video.

1. Connell, Henderson, and Welsh all still training with Celtic first-team

Luca Connell: in Celtic training / (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group via Getty Images)

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Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the training videos is seeing which youth prospects are represented.

Once again, it was the regular trio of Luca Connell, Ewan Henderson, and Stephen Welsh who appeared. The latter two have competitive first-team experience to their name, but Connell is still waiting for his shot.

These three have been regularly seen in training videos over the course of the season. It’s clear then that Lennon has taken a shine to their talents.

It remains to be seen if this bodes well in the coming weeks. The situation this season makes youth integration look more difficult. Then again, Lennon hasn’t been shy in throwing Conor Hazard into things when the pressure has been at peak level.

Connell in particular has patiently been waiting since pre-season for his opportunity. He shined in pre-season against Hibs but hasn’t been seen in the team since. Ismaila Soro’s emergence could be a bit of a setback for his opportunities. In any case, all three continue to train away with the first-team.

2. Elhamed back from injury and all smiles

Celtic defender Hatem Abd Elhamed / (Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images)

Elhamed is back from injury by the looks of things as he also took part in training drills.

You can see him in several different clips within the video. In all of them he looks in good spirits as he continues to train away ahead of the January transfer window.

What makes this important is the fact that he’s been reported as wanting out of Celtic (Scottish Sun). That may very well be the case of course and we won’t jump to conclusions. Just because a player may want out doesn’t mean they’re sulking 100% of the time. The Daily Record has today reported that Hapoel Be’er Sheva have made an approach to take him on loan until the end of the season.

But it’s pleasing to see him back amongst things for now. It remains to be seen if he comes back and competes with Jeremie Frimpong for the Celtic right-back spot.

As January comes around in the coming days, let’s see where that takes Elhamed’s future with Be’er Sheva sniffing. At the very least, he certainly doesn’t look like a wantaway figure in training.

3. No more injury scares for Duffy or Jullien ahead of massive week

Celtic defender Shane Duffy / (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Lennon already confirmed that Chris Jullien was available for Dundee Utd during his pre-match press conference. However, the sight of him and Shane Duffy taking part in what looked to be some intensive running drills was a plus.

Duffy wasn’t deemed fit enough to start against Hamilton at the weekend. That’s despite the fact he was named on the bench. This left Lennon throwing together Nir Bitton and Kris Ajer together in South Lanarkshire.

In the end it didn’t matter as we ran out 3-0 winners. But even so, having both of our two main centre-backs training and available for the week ahead is massive.

This could be a crucial period for Duffy in particular. A make or break for his Celtic career perhaps. It looks as though both he and Jullien are ready to start against Dundee United tonight.

In other news, we discuss why it was great to see Lennon show his defensive side at a time when we’re going well.