Yet another Celtic star has tested positive for Covid-19 as Israeli defender Hatem abd Elhamed is officially ruled out of the upcoming match with Rangers.
Elhamed, 29, is the third Celtic player to have contracted the virus on international duty and the fourth player to be forced into a quarantine ahead of the crunch Old Firm game.
Celtic themselves are fuming after the latest positive test with the fact such a busy international break is taking place during a global pandemic coming under increasing scrutiny.
“We are, of course, disappointed and frustrated that another player on international duty has tested positive – during an international period which is continuing to present huge challenges for the Club,” reads a Celtic statement.
“During the remainder of this international period, as we have done throughout, we will be maintaining close contact with the relevant international associations, in order to ensure everything possible is being done with regards to the care and protection of our players, something which must be a priority.
“While FIFA regulations determine that clubs are obliged to release players for international duty, going forward we are sure wider discussions will take place around this hugely important issue.”
Elhamed, 29, joins a growing list of Celtic players who are doubts for the Scottish Premiership match amid several issues regarding the coronavirus during the international break.
Celtic midfielder-turned-defender Nir Bitton will miss the match after testing positive for coronavirus.
Bitton’s absence also comes after he defied Neil Lennon’s wishes regarding playing for his country during this international break [Daily Record].
The Israeli international joins French U21 striker Odsonne Edouard in contracting the virus on international duty, whilst influential midfielder Ryan Christie is in self-isolation.
The Scotland international had been exposed to the virus by spending time with Stuart Armstrong – who tested positive – whilst on Scotland duty.
Celtic are also set to be without James Forrest with an ankle injury whilst £5m summer striker signing Albian Ajeti faces a race against time to be fit.