Hatem Elhamed: Neil Lennon says Celtic defender close to Israel return with Hapoel Be'er Sheva

Neil Lennon says Celtic defender Hatem Elhamed is nearing a return to former side Hapoel Be’er Sheva after struggling to adapt to life away from his wife and son in Israel; Elhamed has not played since January 2

Hatem Elhamed joined Celtic from Hapoel Be’er Sheva in July 2019
Image: Hatem Elhamed joined Celtic from Hapoel Be’er Sheva in July 2019

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has revealed defender Hatem Elhamed has "really struggled" with life in Scotland and is close to re-joining Hapoel Be’er Sheva in his native Israel.

Elhamed, 29, has only played 17 minutes for Celtic since the 4-2 defeat against AC Milan in the Europa League on December 3.

Lennon said the right-back has "really struggled" living away from his family during the Covid-19-affected 2020/21 campaign and a permanent transfer is on the verge of being completed.

"He has had a really difficult time," Lennon told Sky Sports.

"His wife and young son are back in Israel and life away from the training ground and the club has been very difficult for him.

"Thinking about his health and wellbeing going forward it is probably the best thing to do. He has really struggled with life away from football and maybe some people don't understand at times.

"I think the deal is almost agreed. We wish him all the very best."

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Elhamed, who joined Celtic from Hapoel Be'er Sheva in July 2019, has only made four starts in the Scottish Premiership this season.

Lennon was speaking after Celtic secured back-to-back Scottish Premiership victories with a 2-1 home win over Motherwell.

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