Celtic defender Hatem Abd Elhamed ready to play in central defence if needed this Thursday
Hatem Abd Elhamed has revealed that he is willing to play in central defence if needed. With Christopher Jullien doubtful for the trip to France in midweek, Neil Lennon will be assessing his options.
Celtic face Rennes in their first group stage game in the Europa League and there could be some defensive problems. Kristoffer Ajer and Christopher Jullien played together at the weekend in the 1-0 win at Hamilton Academical.
But Jullien was involved in a clash of heads and he might not be around for the Thursday game. With Jozo Simunovic and Nir Bitton also out injured, Lennon might be forced to play Elhamed at centre-back again. The Israeli right-back was used there towards the end of the Old Firm win over Rangers after Bitton was subbed off.
Quizzed about his versatility, Elhamed said (via The Scotsman): “I feel I am capable of playing anywhere in defence. It doesn’t matter to me whether it is right-back, left-back or central defence.
“I’m confident I can make the right decisions regardless of what position I play in. I felt I did well for the national team and it has been a good start so far for Celtic.”
Elhamed looks like an assured defender when he has played at right-back and he was not fazed by the situation in the Old Firm clash. The 28-year-old was thrown into the deep end as Rangers chased an equaliser but he was composed at the back.
If Jullien is missing, this opens the door for Moritz Bauer to come in at right-back and Elhamed to move across. Lennon has options – but he will prefer it if Jullien is back fit soon.