Celtic weren’t at their best in the recent 2-1 loss to Rangers. Some of the Hoops’ best players didn’t perform on the day, and it could also be argued that Neil Lennon got his team selection wrong.
However, in the rush to proclaim Rangers’ victory as a changing of the guard in Scottish football, something has been forgotten about. That is, that two key Celtic players missed the game through injury.
Not only that, but the two players could have a difference to the Hoops side had they been fit. Those players are Mohamed Elyounoussi and Hatem Abd Elhamed.
Attacker could have replaced misfiring starters
The loss of Elyounoussi in particular was a blow. With neither James Forrest nor Ryan Christie having their best game for the team, the attacker could have had a big impact on the game.
It should not be forgotten that before he suffered his foot injury, he had scored seven goals and had six assists for the Hoops, and was in an excellent run of form. Hopefully the winter training break in Dubai helps his fitness, and he returns to the side soon after that.
Defender’s experience was missed
Elhamed’s experience was missed in the game. Although Jeremie Frimpong acquitted himself well, there is an argument to be made that if Elhamed was fit he would have started the game for the Hoops.
It should not be forgotten that Elhamed was excellent in Celtic’s 2-0 win over Rangers in September, which was the Hoops’ best performance in a Glasgow derby so far this season.
Hopefully Elhamed, like Elyounoussi will see his fitness improve after the week’s training in Dubai. With both players available, Celtic might well have won the latest Glasgow derby.
You do have to deal with injuries though, and it is just unfortunate that these players have been out of action for a good while. Hopefully the duo return sooner rather than later.