Beram Kayal pushes the start button at Celtic

BERAM KAYAL is back - and the midfielder aims to stay in the Celtic side.

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Beram Kayal wants to be in Neil Lennon's starting eleven for the remainder of the season
Beram Kayal wants to be in Neil Lennon's starting eleven for the remainder of the season

The future of the player has been in doubt since he went public on his desire to move on from a league which has lost its appeal for the Israeli international.

The 25-year-old was also critical of the technical ability present in the game here. And, with just 14 months of his contract to run, the Parkhead exit door appeared to be opening for him.

However, after making his return to the starting line-up against Dundee United at Tannadice following a four-month rehab from a broken foot bone sustained in the defeat at home by AC Milan, Kayal's only aim is to cement his place in the side for the remainder of this season.

Neil Lennon believes he showed against United the spark and hunger which has been missing for too long. Kayal wants the chance to show it was no flash in the pan, but is frustrated the Hoops must wait until a week on Saturday before playing again. He wants to deliver another impressive 90 minutes when they face Motherwell at Fir Park in the first game after the split.

And, when asked if he is ready start in all the remaining matches, Kayal replied: "I hope so, but the gaffer will take the decision. I try to prove myself in training.

"After a long (time out with) injury, sometimes you need time to come back to the team.

"But, I'm happy with my performance on Saturday, helping the team in the middle and playing the whole game, like a long time ago."

Kayal had met with Lennon earlier in the week when he was disciplined for giving his controversial interview to an Israeli newspaper without permission from the manager.

But, there is clearly no friction between the pair, and they are united in wanting to see the player back to his best - and in the Celtic side.

"I'm always happy to come back and help the team," said Kayal. "The gaffer spoke with me before the game and gave me the confidence, saying I need to come back and play games after a long injury. Now I need to work so hard and keep myself in the team."

Kayal's comeback could not be better timed as Celtic are currently experiencing a spate of injuries to first-team players. Mikael Lustig, Charlie Mulgrew, Derk Boerrigter, James Forrest, Nir Biton, Adam Matthews and Darnell Fisher are all out.

That forced Lennon to move Scott Brown to right-back for the United match, and Kayal was delighted to line up in midfield alongside 17 year-old Liam Henderson and new Bhoy Stefan Johansen.

He told Celtic TV: "We have a great team, especially in the midfield where we have strong players. Liam is a great player. He's still young, but learns the game very well. Stefan is also a great player, and we have Brown - our new right defender."

Kayal needs one more appearance to qualify for his third championship medal since arriving at Parkhead from Maccabi Haifa in 2010.

But he is more interested in helping the team make it victories all the way to the finish and said: "We want to continue to win games. Sometimes, after we win the league, we feel all the media are saying we have no energy for the game.

"We went to Tannadice and proved we have energy and that we want to have success again and again."

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