"I'm alone here"; Celtic's Hatem Elhamed opens up on isolation in Scotland

By David Walton

December 10, 2020

Celtic defender Hatem Elhamed has opened up on isolation in Scotland as he shows all the signs of a player looking to leave.

The Scottish Sun reported this week that the Hoops were willing to listen to offers for the Israeli international in January, provided they could find a suitable replacement. This is due to the player being unsettled in Scotland with his family still in Israel.

Elhamed signed for Celtic back in the summer of 2019 from Hapoel Be’er Sheva. However, injuries have held him back at Parkhead as well as his family’s failure to adjust to life in Glasgow.

And you can clearly see the effect it’s all having on the player himself as he admitted the days are longer for him here than they are back home.

As quoted by the Scottish Sun, Elhamed said: “It is very difficult. My wife and son had a hard time adjusting to life in Scotland, for many reasons. My wife has a successful career in Israel. We thought she would work here, but she did not get a work permit.

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“My son came here at five and had difficulties with the language and finding friends, so we thought it would be better for them to go back to Israel and visit me from time to time. Unfortunately, the coronavirus made that impossible.

“Life is different. I am used to a more social life, and the days pass more slowly than in Israel. I’m alone here. I finish training and go straight home. I do not leave the house much — and it was like that even before the virus.”

Hatem clearly wants Celtic spell to end

Elhamed doesn’t paint a particularly happy picture. He’s stopped short of saying he wants to leave the club whenever he can, but these words from him pretty much show you that’s what he’s meaning.

The Sun has also reported that as many as three Israeli clubs are interested in taking him back home. Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Maccabi Haifa, and Beitar Jerusalem have all been named as potential destinations for him.

You can’t help but feel so sorry for him though. Nothing appears to have gone right for him family-wise since his move to Scotland. His wife failing to get a work permit will have been a massive blow for him, as will the fact his son struggled with the language and making friends.

Celtic defender Hatem Elhamed (Photo by Giuseppe Maffia/SNS Group via Getty Images)

You get the sense if Hatem could go back home tomorrow and never come back then that’s exactly what he would do. So Neil Lennon has a big decision to make in January regarding what to do with a player so unsettled with life in Glasgow.

It almost feels cruel to keep him on in truth. It’s difficult to ever have a pop at a player who’s first priority is his family, so Lennon could do with having a big chat with him to see just where his mind’s at on his long-term future.

It’s vital we only have players on board who want to be here, especially with the 10 at stake this season. It’s pretty evident that Elhamed isn’t one of those players.

In other news, Lennon has confirmed whether Ismaila Soro will actually start tonight or not.