HATEM ABD ELHAMED, who has been out since injuring his groin in the historic 2-1 win over Lazio in Rome in November, is edging closer to a first-team comeback.

The Israeli international right-back, who was an unused substitute in the 1-0 Scottish Cup quarter-final victory over St Johnstone on Sunday, is in Neil Lennon’s provisional squad for this evening’s Premiership encounter against Livingston in West Lothian.

Elhamed, who can also play in central defence, is on stand-by with Kristoffer Ajer doubtful with a thigh strain and Jozo Simunovic, who sat out the Perth triumph, still struggling with a knee problem.

James Forrest and Callum McGregor sustained knocks at the weekend, but they are likely to be in their usual positions against Gary Holt’s outfit who shocked the champions 2-0 at the same venue in October.

Crocked duo Olivier Ntcham (calf) and Mikey Johnston (knee) remain out.

PROVISIONAL SQUAD: Forster, Frimpong, Elhamed, Bauer, Hayes, Ajer, Bolingoli, Taylor, Jullien, Bitton, Brown, McGregor, Rogic, Christie, Forrest, Elyounoussi, Edouard, Klimala, Griffiths, Bayo and Bain.

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Livingston v Celtic this evening – only in your champion CQN.

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