COVID-19 Latest – “Hatem El Hamed is not feeling well and has gone into quarantine”

Celtic defender Hatem El Hamed could be the next Celtic player to be affected by the COVID-19 virus while away on International duty. The Israeli pulled out of the game in Tel Aviv against Czech Republic last night.

The Celtic defender has gone into quarantine after complaining about feeling unwell. He will be tested for COVID-19 today and is almost certainly going to be the latest Celtic player to be ruled out of the match against theRangers at Celtic Park on Saturday lunchtime.

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Celtic have already lost Ryan Christie who has been forced to self-isolate after coming into contact with former Celt Stuart Armstrong. The Southampton midfielder tested positive for COVID-19 as the Scotland party prepared for their League of Nations semi-final with Israel.

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Nir Bitton joined El Hamed in the starting line-up for that match – despite being declared unfit to play by Celtic – and then returned a positive COVID-19 result after being tested the day after the 0-0 draw. Scotland won the semi-final 5-3 on penalties.

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Before all of this played out Odsonne Edoaurd arrived at the French Under 21s training camp and immediately tested positive for COVID-19. The Celtic striker only has to self-isolate for seven days in France so he still has a slim chance of being involved this weekend, although it seems highly unlikely.

Christie, despite his negative test, must self isolate for 14 days so is definitely ruled out of the match against theRangers.

READ THIS…Ryan Christie Blanks Contract Talks, Celtic must avoid ‘another Boyata’ situation

Now the news that El Hamed is a COVID-19 concern means that Neil Lennon is looking at another potential blow this morning as Celtic’s frustrations with the need to play these pretty meaningless international fixtures, which entirely disregard the safety of each club’s own bubble, bolts over.

Celtic commented on the risks to our players from these international matches over the weekend via a statement on the official website amid growing concern among the Celtic Support who have been demanding that the club in future refuse to release players until the pandemic is over.

“Clearly, recent events during this international period are very concerning and frustrating. We have worked tirelessly to ensure a safe and secure working environment and since testing has begun our players and medical staff have done a brilliant job in very difficult circumstances.

“Although we will never be complacent, throughout our own Club testing programme, our squad has returned around 2,000 individual negative tests since the outbreak of the pandemic, with not one positive test.

“The current situation has presented huge challenges for all within football and wider society which we do not underestimate in any way.

“While we apportion no blame whatsoever to anyone, this is now a very difficult position for us and, clearly, for all other clubs. Like all other clubs, we must do all we can to protect our squad and limit the very clear and obvious risks to players.

“Under FIFA regulations, clubs are obliged to release players for international duty.

“We will be maintaining close contact with international associations in order to ensure everything possible is being done with regards to the care and protection of our players. The priority must be the safety of our players at all times.”

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Hopefully El Hamed returns a negative test result today but don’t bet on it. Regardless the main concern will be the players health and well-being, so get well soon Hatem, Nir and Odsonne…

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

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