This week has been an absolute nightmare for Celtic but at least there is some good news regarding Hatem Abd Elhamed amid all the chaos.
Another day, another Celtic star ruled out of the Glasgow Derby! This time around it is Nir Bitton who has tested positive while away on international duty. An international break during the current pandemic situation was likely to lead to an increase in cases, negatively affecting clubs across Europe. And that is exactly what has happened.
More and more footballers have been testing positive over the break, including multiple Celtic players like Odsonne Edouard, and now Nir Bitton, with others having to quarantine after coming into contact with positive cases. Ex-Hoop Stuart Armstrong recently tested positive as well, leading to Ryan Christie having to quarantine for two weeks.
The loss of so many players in such a short span is likely to negatively impact Neil Lennon’s preparations with critical upcoming matches against the Rangers (Oct 17) and AC Milan (Oct 22) immediately after the break.
Fortunately, Hatem Abd Elhamed, who some fans had worried would be affected by Nir Bitton’s positive test while with the Israeli national team, is now being reported by the Daily Record as not to have been within close contact and will be free to play for his side’s upcoming international matches.
If the reports and contact tracing are true, Hatem Abd Elhamed will likely not have to take the same quarantine actions that teammate Ryan Christie had, making him available for Lennon’s selection in these critical matches.
While this is obviously good news for Hoops fans, the fact that infection can take days to impact test results does not fully clear Abd Elhamed, with the potential there for a further positive test.
Lennon will be in need of every player he can get into the team-sheet over these next few weeks. Lets just hope there are no further positive tests or injuries.