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BACK PAGE BULLETIN: NEW CELTIC STAR IS TOPS HOME AND AWAY, EX-GER TIPPED FOR MAN CITY JOB, JAGS EYE McCALL

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HATEM ABD ELHAMED has revealed he is bigger in Israel – since he left the country for Celtic!

The international defender quit Hapoel Be’er Sheva for the Hoops in a £1.6million switch two months ago and has already proved he is a more than capable replacement for fans’ favourite Mikael Lustig.

Elhamed is making a name for himself at Parkhead and is doing something similar in his homeland.

Attention to his transfer to the Scottish champions has been huge and he admitted he is viewed in a different light in Israel these days while playing for the international team against Macedonia and Slovenia earlier this month.

The versatile 28-year-old defender, speaking to the Sunday Mail, said: “I signed for Celtic then I played games for the national team.

“So, for sure, Celtic have helped me a lot in my career.

“It was a very important move for me and I did a lot to come here. I am very glad to be with Celtic. Now I recognise it was a very good decision.

“Sure, there is more interest in me. When you are a Celtic player they look at you differently and you get more respect.”

Elhamed went a long way to winning over the Hoops support with his display in the 2-0 victory over Rangers at Ibrox at the start of the month.

He started off at right-back, but was switched to centre-half in an emergency following the injury to Nir Bitton in the 66th minute of the Glasgow derby. He effortlesly linked up with Christopher Jullien in the middle of the rearguard while on-loan Stoke City full-back Moritz Bauer came on in the No.2 position.

MIKEL ARTETA, the former Rangers midfielder, has been hailed by Pep Guardiola who tips him to take over from him when he quits the English champions.

The Spaniard emerged as one of the frontrunners for the Arsenal job after Arsene Wenger retired in 2018, but decided to stay on as No.2 at the Ethiad.

Guardiola has been assisted by Arteta, who has also played for the Gunners and Everton, he joined the club and is confident his countryman is the right person to replace him when he eventually leaves.

The City supremo, speaking to Sky Sports News, said: “I’m pretty sure [he’ll succeed me]. He will have success.

“Sooner or later it’s going to happen. He’s a young, young manager. He has experience already, handling big players and big teams.

“He’s got an incredible work ethic. He has a special talent to analyse what happens and to find solutions.

“We talk a lot about what he believes and how he feels.”

Guardiola, who saw his team hammer Watford 8-0 yesterday, added: “He’s a guy who’s so happy when we win, but also suffers a lot when we don’t.

“He’s an incredible person, an incredible human being, with incredible values about the dressing room and what it means to be together.

“He’s already an incredible, incredible manager. He will have incredible success in the future.

“He was a holding-midfielder as a player and I think he reads the situations.

“The best play thinking about what the team needs in every single moment. He was a master of that. When he was able to see what was needed on the pitch, when you’re off the pitch it’s easier.”

IAN McCALL is edging closer to getting the Partick Thistle manager’s job after the sacking of Gary Caldwell during the week.

The Firhill side have asked for permission to speak to the Ayr United boss.

Danny Lennon was also tipped as a possibility for the Maryhill job, but he agreed a contract extension with Clyde yesterday which could McCall in pole position.

Thistle were thumped 3-0 at home by Dunfermline yesterday.

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Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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