Report: Celtic's Hatem Abd Elhamed not identified as close contact of Nir Bitton

By John McGinley

October 10, 2020

Versatile Celtic star Hatem Abd Elhamed is expected to continue to play football and not self-isolate following Nir Bitton’s positive COVID-19 test result, The Daily Record reports.

Celtic announced tonight that Bitton has tested positive for the coronavirus on international duty with Israel.

Naturally, that would lead to worries that Elhamed has also been exposed.

Ryan Christie was forced to self-isolate following Stuart Armstrong’s positive result through the week.

However, The Daily Record report Elhamed has not been identified as a close contact of Bitton and will play against the Czech Republic and Slovakia this week.

Celtic star Hatem Abd Elhamed / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

That should, in turn, make him available to play Rangers at Celtic Park next Saturday.

There is a long week ahead of course, and if Bitton did contract the virus within the Israel bubble, then there is still a risk to Elhamed.

Remember, the virus can take days to incubate and return positive results.

Elhamed was in good form for Israel against Scotland on Thursday night and could play an important role in the upcoming derby.

His versatility allows him to play in a variety of defensive positions and, with no guarantee who’ll even be available for the match, that’s crucial.

There’ll now be a waiting game for Neil Lennon.

The Bhoys boss will understandably be anxious about getting all his international stars home healthy and injury-free.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon / (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

International breaks used to be a nuisance.

In current times, they’re a danger. Keep your fingers crossed.

In other news, Celtic have confirmed everyone at Lennoxtown returned a negative test result on Friday.