Johnny Hayes claps the Celtic fans


Jackie McNamara has revealed that he has been left “very impressed” with the performances of summer signing Hatem Abd Elhamed and tipped the defender to fill in at centre-back if need be.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Hoops and Scotland defender insists that the 28-year-old has done more than just live up to expectation with his performances at Parkhead, having taken Mikael Lustig’s place at right-back.

The Swedish international left Celtic Park for Belgian side Gent, Neil Lennon signing Elhamed to fill the void.

However, McNamara says that the Israeli international could help plug any gaps that appear at the heart of the defence, having also played as a centre-back during his career.

McNamara told Football Insider: “He’s quite versatile as well, he can play centre-half which he’s done before, which is obviously a good thing with other ones missing through injury, like Simunovic and stuff. 

“It’s good that he can fill in there, I’ve been very impressed with him since he’s came in.”

Elhamed has played seven times across all competitions for the Hoops so far, each of those appearances coming as a right-back, including playing the full 90 minutes against Rennes in the Europa League on Thursday.

Christopher Jullien and Kristoffer Ajer were Lennon’s centre-back pairing against the French outfit, Jozo Simunovic currently out of action with a knee injury.

In other Celtic news, McNamara has told Football Insider that a Hoops starlet is “absolutely” ready to make his debut for the Bhoys.