Celtic defender Hatem Elhamed has been bigging up life at what he describes as a “crazy club” in the Hoops.
Elhamed signed in the summer from Hapoel Be’er Sheva in what’s arguably been the biggest move of the Israeli’s life. He cost the club around £1.6million, yet anytime he’s been out on the field it’s looked like a steal (Daily Record).
So far this season, the former Be’er Sheva man has played 14 times for the club (Transfermarkt). However, if not for a three-month injury picked up in Lazio back in November, you can bet that number would’ve been a lot higher.
In any case, the defender has been talking up his first season in Scotland. Speaking in comments published by the Daily Record, it’s fair to say that Elhamed has thoroughly enjoyed things so far.
“I am already in a crazy club in Europe, it is every player’s dream to be in a club like this. I only want to get back to my fitness after the injury, get back in the line-up and be one of the most important players in the team.
“The coach is the one who brought me here and fought for me. In one of the interviews, he said he didn’t understand how he brought such a player at such a cheap price. He didn’t understand how such a player came out of the Israeli league. He has given everything so I could be here and I will give my all to repay him for that.
“I got 12 minutes to get into things (against St Mirren) and it was fun to come back. Unfortunately, the timing of the injury wasn’t great but I am blessed to now be back. The good thing is that the fans have been great to me in my time here.”
Elhamed’s hopes are hardly a pipe dream
It’s clear from his comments that Elhamed’s main hope is to make himself a big-time player at Parkhead. Judging by what he showed in the first few months in Glasgow, that won’t be a problem.
The shutdown probably came at either the best or worst time for him, depending on how you look at things. It’s a positive in that it gives him time to continue building up his fitness levels after his 10-minute cameo vs St Mirren. However, at the same time, it can be deemed a big negative if you go by the notion that he needs games.
In any case, you have to wonder just how different things could’ve been if he’d have been fit. Would Celtic have still been in the Europa League? Would we have lost that December game to Rangers? These are a couple of scenarios that would’ve been doubtful had Elhamed been fit.
It’s clear that Neil Lennon fancies him strongly too. Even with young superstar Jeremie Frimpong his main rival at right-back, Elhamed is still head and shoulders above any of his competition at the moment.
The current health crisis will eventually settle down and we’ll get back to playing football. When that happens, Elhamed is going to be a massive option to have amongst the ranks.
Given his sheer desire to repay Lennon’s faith in him, that’s nothing but a big positive for the club.