Forget Ajer: Lennon must unleash Celtic powerhouse with just 31 UEL mins all season – opinion
Celtic are currently considerably off the pace domestically.
11 points behind their arch-rivals, the Hoops have struggled to follow the script in a season where they have the potential to win a tenth Scottish Premiership in a row.
Issues are rife in Neil Lennon’s side, but how do they go about fixing some of the matters at hand?
On the chalkboard
This has not been a good campaign for Lennon and his team.
They have conceded 13 goals in the SPFL, ten more than Rangers and after being knocked out of the Champions League, they are now bottom of their Europa League group.
They were dealt an incredibly tough set of fixtures, having to face Lille, AC Milan and Sparta Prague and thus, they simply have to win when they go to the Czech Republic on Thursday evening.
Defensively, they have been abject at best, especially at right-back.
Jeremie Frimpong is someone that Lennon has previously claimed is the best youngster he’s worked with but he’s dropped off in 2020/21, leading to questions about his place.
The 19-year-old was caught out against Hibernian, making just one tackle and losing the ball 18 times. On top of that, he failed to produce a single accurate cross despite spending much of the game in the opposition half.
Well, there is only one man to fix the void at right-back. It’s an area Kristoffer Ajer has previously featured in for the Bhoys but it’s not him that should be seen as Frimpong’s replacement.
Instead, Lennon should look towards Israel international Hatem Elhamed, a man with just four league starts and 31 European minutes under his belt this term.
Despite his minimal action, the Celtic powerhouse has already provided two assists and is performing at a similar level to Frimpong in the attacking third.
However, the key to this decision is his experience. At the age of 29, the defender has now been around for a fair while and still has tremendous athleticism, two things that could be game-changing in turning Celtic’s season around.
After his move to Parkhead, Elhamed’s fellow countryman Boni Ginzburg typified him perfectly: “Hatem is strong, quick and fast. I hear Celtic want to play him at right-back, and he has the pace and power to do that. There is no concern over him handling the speed and physical nature of the Scottish game,” he said.
Those attributes are near perfect in replacing Frimpong. Lennon simply has to consider him permanently going forward.
Source: Football – Football Fan Cast