Neil Lennon sheds some light on Hatem Elhamed's surprise Celtic departure

By Hamish Carton

October 8, 2021

Neil Lennon has given some insight into why Hatem Abd Elhamed left Celtic last January.

The former Hoops boss has been chatting to Israeli outlet Sport 5 in the lead up to tomorrow’s Scotland vs Israel clash at Hampden.

Lennon was asked about some of the best Israeli players he managed at Celtic, and Elhamed was one who jumped to mind.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

“Hatem has everything you are looking for in a modern player,” Lennon told Sport 5.

“He is fast and he is good with the ball, in the first games he got here he was fantastic when he was fit, he adds a lot.

“Sometimes he loses concentration and that’s fine.

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“He sacrificed a lot to get here. The problem was that the closures came and he and his family had a very hard time.

“He found himself in training and at home and very isolated and he was not happy.”

Elhamed was one of many players who struggled under Lennon

Elhamed left Celtic for a return to Hapoel Be’er Sheva in early February – with some reports suggesting the Hoops only received £800,000 for the full-back.

The Israeli had enjoyed a pretty solid first year at the club, before the pandemic struck.

After that, he didn’t seem to be the same player, but it was still a surprise to hear him leaving the club after just over a year to return back home.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

He wasn’t the only overseas player to struggle at Celtic last season, with the likes of Albian Ajeti and Vasilis Barkas other obvious examples.

And he won’t be returning to Hampden tomorrow either.

Elhamed is not in the Israel squad for this international double-header.

In other news, Lennon has also been speaking about a plot to sign Israel talisman Eran Zahavi

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