Hatem Abd Elhamed is closing in on a return to first-team Celtic action after starting a reserve game against Hibernian at Lennoxtown earlier today.

The Israeli international got an hour of football under his belt before being substituted off in what was his first real match action since suffering a groin injury in November.

The Daily Record reports that he could even be in line to feature against Copenhagen this Thursday night in our massive Round of 32 second leg clash at Celtic Park.

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Elhamed was a large part of our success in the group stage of the competition, playing well in the draw with Rennes as well as wins against Lazio and Cluj. His return is very timely.

However, having not been seen in a Scottish Premiership match in over 5 months, it’s fair to say his debut season at the club has been frustrating so far.

His last league appearance was against Kilmarnock on September 22nd, coming off the bench to replace Moritz Bauer.

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With Jeremie Frimpong showing exciting progress in the first-team, we haven’t been left completely short on the right flank.

The fact is though that Elhamed provides a bit more defensive stability, as well as versatility that could see him perform at centre-half too.

Celtic defender Hatem Abd Elhamed

Celtic defender Hatem Abd Elhamed / (Photo by Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

That could be crucial to Lennon’s options over the next few months, especially in any big European matches that could be a step too far for Frimpong defensively.

Elhamed has made just 11 starts for the club this season (Transfermarkt) but I remain optimistic that, injury-free, he can play an important role in the squad not just this season but beyond.

With just an hour of football under his belt recently, perhaps Sunday’s trip to St Johnstone is a more viable return for the player, despite The Record’s Europa League report.

Do you still have high hopes for Elhamed? Share your thoughts below in our new comments section…

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