If you’re Hatem Elhamed sitting on that Celtic bench yesterday, what are you honestly thinking?
First off, you’ve been off pretty much all week after being sent off on international duty and available to feature at Easter Road.
Throw into the mix the fact that your rival, Jeremie Frimpong, has been providing poor performances on a weekly basis over the last month.
Finally, you’re sitting there as Neil Lennon’s most effective signing, and you have the stats to back it up. You’ve never lost a domestic match since arriving in Glasgow and you’ve played in 17 of them – it’s hardly just a handful at this point.
Yet you’re sitting there and watching Frimpong produce another poor display. A display that reflects a player who knows he’s hardly getting challenged for his position. A player who was at fault for both goals at Easter Road and deserves to be dropped or at the very least challenged.
It’s time to stop patting Frimpong on the head and pretending as though he can’t be blamed for anything. The youngster has struggled as much as anyone over the last month, and he needs a bit more protection from his manager here.
Lennon has been quick to haul Vasilis Barkas out of the firing line after a couple of ropey displays, so why not Jeremie? Why is there almost such a fear from the manager when it comes to dropping certain underperformers?
Frimpong not the only one struggling, but a direct replacement awaits
Granted, there are a few. You could say the same about Scott Brown for example. But the difference is there’s an outstanding candidate just sitting on the bench twiddling his thumbs in Elhamed when it comes to the right-back position.
Remember, he was crucial to our success in the early stages of last season. The former Hapoel Be’er Sheva man won 12 of the 15 games he played in all competitions, and secured victory in all nine of his domestic games (Transfermarkt).
A long-term muscle injury kept him out of action after he produced another starring performance in Lazio. But he’s returned this season and still has an incredible six wins out of seven matches when he’s played. Even taking into consideration his incredible domestic record, he’s still only started four of our 12 league games this season.
Considering he’s watching Frimpong continuously struggle to show strength at the back, something Elhamed has in abundance, you have to question just what is going through his head.
Lennon isn’t helping himself here. Israel international Elhamed, who can play at centre-back and left-back too, should be right in his strongest XI. Frimpong has had a host of opportunities over the last two months and he’s failed to build on what was initially an impressive start to the season.
It’s time to bring Hatem back in from the cold Neil. He’s far too effective a signing to allow to rot on the bench.