HATEM ABD ELHAMED has kicked his first ball in competition since limping off with a groin strain in Celtic’s historic 2-1 Europa League group win over Lazio in Rome in November.

The Israeli international right-back made his comeback in the 4-2 Reserve League Cup win over Hibs at Lennoxtown yesterday.

Boss Neil Lennon, who paid £1.6million to sign the 28-year-old defender from Hapoel Be’er Sheva in the summer, watched from the touchline as the experienced back-four operator lasted just over an hour without mishap.

It is unlikely, though, if he will be called into the squad for Thursday’s Europa League last-32 encounter against FC Copenhagen at Parkhead while the Irishman still has Dutch teenager Jeremie Frimpong and Austrian international Moritz Bauer vying for the No.2 slot.

Lennon also saw two other recent captures, £3.5million Patryk Klimala and £2million Ismaila Soro in action.

The Polish striker scored as did Karamoko Dembele, with a double, and Luca Connell, who arrived from Bolton in the summer.

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