HATEM ABD ELHAMED came back from injury at Ibrox on Beautiful Sunday and ended up starring at both right back then in the centre of the defence after Nir Bitton suffered a hamstring injury and had to go off.
Over the next 13 days the Israeli travelled around 7000 miles, played in four games and showed how versatile he is as a player by playing in four different positions for club and country.
“I was in the middle with Israel and also played for 45 minutes at left-back against Slovenia,” Hatem Abd Elhamed explained to the media, as reported by Daily Record.
“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.
“I’m happy to switch positions. The (Glasgow) derby was a great experience for me. To experience that atmosphere was tough but I feel I adapted well.
“I played two different positions so I want to take the confidence into Thursday. The Rangers game was one of the toughest and biggest of my career.”
Playing at Ibrox then international football is on one level but then being faced with the plastic nonsense that somehow is allowed in Scottish football is another. These pitches at Hamilton, Livingston and Kilmarnock – who used to have the best grass pitch in Scotland – should have no place in our game.
Brendan Rodgers famously said that he’d never seen a decent game on those surfaces and he is correct. Saturday’s game was the same, job done, points won but brutal to watch.
Incidentally the Res 12 banner was not on display as Hamilton security refused to allow it into the ground. Funny that. Watch out for that banner and several others at the next two Celtic home games.
Hatem Abd Elhamed’s view on playing at Hamilton? “You have to adapt to the different conditions.
“We just had to win this game and we showed a strong mentality. We got the job done and now we look forward to the next game against Rennes.
“The conditions were not the best but you have to respect the opposition and the pitch. I didn’t know too much about Hamilton beforehand.
“It doesn’t matter that we are Celtic. We just have to come to these places and win. We are in a good place right now and we want to keep that momentum going.
“It does help when you have played well away from our home at Celtic Park. We showed against Rangers and Stockholm we can do well without a lot of our fans. That gives us a lot of confidence before we play Rennes.
“We have a strong squad and players with a strong belief so we can be confident. We can go and show this is France.”
Hatem also had a word or two of praise for Mohamed Elyounoussi who made his Celtic debut at Hamilton and set up James Forrest for that early strike that secured the three points.
“It is only his first game but he showed his qualities. He is a good player and I’m sure he will help us a lot this season. I was impressed with his performance.”
ALSO ON THE CELTIC STAR…
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