Exclusive: McNamara reveals surprise over Celtic star after Lennon admission

Jackie McNamara admits he is surprised at how well Hatem Abd Elhamed has adapted to life at Celtic after Neil Lennon’s comments on the defender.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Hoops star and Scotland international says that the versatile enforcer, who has played at both right-back and centre-back at Parkhead, joins a long list of value signings made by the Bhoys.

Lennon revealed he was left asking what was wrong with the Israeli international after scouting him ahead of a reported £1.5million move, wondering how such a talent could be signed for such a cheap price.

McNamara admits that he is also surprised at how impressive the 28-year-old has started life at the Glasgow giants, adding the five-cap international as another value for money signing for the Hoops.

Asked if he was surprised at how quickly Elhamed had settled into the side, McNamara told Football Insider: “Yeah, he’s done well, I think he’s settled in really well, adapted well and it’s a good environment to settle into.

“I think he’s been a good bargain and I think they’ve been good at that over the years, (Virgil) van Dijk and the rest of them. I think the best one’s (Henrik) Larsson at £600,000. They’ve been renowned for bringing in some great players for the value.”

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Elhamed has already played 11 times for the Bhoys across all competitions, establishing himself as the first-choice right-back ahead of Moritz Bauer and Jeremie Frimpong despite having played as a centre-back for the majority of his career.

However, he has found himself on the bench for the last four league games as Neil Lennon rotates his squad between domestic and European matches.

In other Celtic news, McNamara suggests that one player is buzzing behind the scenes at Parkhead after recent developments under Lennon.