Alex McLeish has tipped Neil Lennon to allow Hatem Abd Elhamed to leave in January if Celtic manage to sign a replacement.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Rangers and Scotland manager insisted the Hoops had to take care of the versatile defender after he admitted he had struggled to settle without his family in Glasgow.
Speaking to the Scottish Sun, who report there are three Israeli teams interested in signing the 29-year-old, Elhamed confessed he was finding life in Scotland “very difficult” after his wife and son returned to Israel.
Elhamed, who joined the Bhoys back in 2019, has started seven times in 14 appearances this season and has two years left on his contract.
McLeish admitted he felt sympathy for the Israel international and suggested the Bhoys would allow him to leave if the deal worked for them.
McLeish told Football Insider: “The way that this virus has affected people, it’s far more important than in football, football comes second to your family. If he is in an unhappy place mentally then that is not going to help in his career at Celtic.
“He’s a foreign national who is his homesick, dearly missing his family so there obviously has to be about sympathy there, that is a mental thing so you have to sympathise with the guy.
Asked if thought Celtic would agree to let Elhamed leave if they could sign a replacement in January, McLeish said: “Yeah, absolutely, you have to have talks with his agent, his advisors, and the player himself. It’s got to be an adult approach to this, not ducking and diving.
“Lennon’s got to do what’s right for your football club and okay, his bosses and the guys who do the transfers, these fellas have all got a job to do, and therefore you have to respect that and the player has to respect that.
“He might be getting torn apart inside and his head but you’ve got to understand you signed for a reason.”
Elhamed told the Scottish Sun: “It is very difficult. My wife and son had a hard time adjusting to life in Scotland, for many reasons. We thought it would be better for them to go back to Israel and visit me from time to time. Unfortunately, the coronavirus made that impossible.
“Life is different. I am used to more social life, and the days pass more slowly than in Israel. I am alone here. I finish training and go straight home. I do not leave the house much — and it was like that even before the virus.”
In other Celtic news: ‘Scares me’ – Football Insider pundit slaughters Hoops star letting team down.