By Wayne Veysey
Neil Lennon is plotting using Hatem Abd Elhamed as an emergency centre-back in Celtic’s Scottish Premiership clash against Hamilton on Saturday, Football Insider has learned.
The Hoops manager is set to be without Jozo Simunovic (knee) and Nir Bitton (hamstring) for the short trip to the Accies and Kristoffer Ajer (groin) may also lose his fitness battle.
A Celtic source has told Football Insider that Lennon is weighing up moving right-back Elhamed, 28, across to the centre of defence to partner Christopher Jullien in central defence.
The Israel international has made five appearances for the Scottish champions since signing from Hapoel Beer Sheva in July, each of them at right-back.
But he demonstrated his versatility during the Old Firm win over Rangers at Ibrox when he moved across to centre-back following the injury sustained by Bitton midway through the second period.
Elhamed has made a strong start to his Celtic career since his £1.5million arrival and looks like he could prove to be a shrewd signing for the club.
His versatility is reminiscent of the Hoops’ longstanding former right-back Mikael Lustig, who occasionally slotted into central defence as injury cover or when a three-man defence was used.
Elhamed added to his international caps while playing for Israel during the just-completed international break.