Report: Hatem Abd Elhamed to fly out with Celtic to Romania

By David Walton

August 6, 2019

Celtic right-back Hatem Abd Elhamed is to reportedly fly out with the first-team squad to Romania today.

According to the Scottish Sun, Elhamed won’t be staying in Glasgow to recuperate. Instead, he’ll be heading off with the team to prepare for the clash at the Dr. Constantin Rădulescu Stadium.

The Israeli limped off during Celtic’s 7-0 rout of St Johnstone at Parkhead on Saturday. Despite an impressive debut, however, Neil Lennon revealed after the game that his new signing had unfortunately suffered from a dead leg (Celtic TV).

Hatem Abd Elhamed is an exciting prospect for Celtic (William Van Hecke/Corbis via Getty Images)

It immediately looked unlikely that he would feature tomorrow given the quick turnaround. But his inclusion in the Champions League squad as well as him flying off is good news for supporters.

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If Elhamed wasn’t fit to play, it would’ve been wiser to leave him at home. Ensuring his injury isn’t aggravated would’ve been the top priority. Therefore, the fact he’s ready to go is a massive bonus for tomorrow night.

Neil Lennon will hopefully confirm positive team news for Romania

When Lennon has his press conference today, Elhamed’s availability will hopefully be officially confirmed by the Celtic boss. The signs have been good all week, and it can’t be underestimated just how important it could be to our chances.

Not having Elhamed in the team could cause a rippling effect. Kristoffer Ajer could be forced to come out of position in order to try and cope with the loss. That would rob us of what, on paper, seems like our best defensive partnership in Ajer and Christopher Jullien.

Neil Lennon will hopefully take to the press todayu (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Jozo Simunovic has proven to be reliable cover in the past. But, despite that, he still wouldn’t be first choice to feature tomorrow night if everyone is fit.

Elhamed also had an impressive debut against St Johnstone at Celtic Park on Saturday. He showed tremendous pace and power for what was surely a nervy occasion for him.

Kristoffer Ajer at right-back still isn’t ideal (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Having a player who’s naturally comfortable at right-back is a big plus. Making sure he’s available for the Champions League qualifiers, however, is of vital importance. That’s a big reason as to why he was signed so soon.

Fortunately, all the signs point to Elhamed starting tomorrow night. Now, all we need is Lenny to confirm it later on.