Kayal gets another shot at glory with Celtic at Tannadice

BERAM KAYAL will be given the chance at Tannadice today to show he has a Celtic future.

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Beram Kay is tipped to recapture form that made him a star
Beram Kay is tipped to recapture form that made him a star

The Israeli international has met with Neil Lennon to explain why he was widely quoted making disparaging remarks about the quality of football in this country.

In the original interview, given to a newspaper in Israel, the 25-year-old midfielder also claimed Lee McCulloch deliberately set out to injure him in a tackle during an an Old Firm game in 2011.

Kayal missed the next four months with ankle ligament damage after that challenge, but faces an even more serious one now.

Lennon has revealed the man who is about to enter the final year of his second contract at the club has been disciplined for the interview.

But it was not the content -which Lennon believes was reproduced with unfair emphasis on certain parts - which has got Kayal into trouble.

The manager explained: "I spoke to him this morning. He's very upset about it because he feels a lot of the quotes are misconstrued.

"My only problem with Beram and the interview is that he didn't have club consent, or my consent, to do it.

"I think there was a bit of spin put on some of the quotes. But he will be disciplined by myself."

Lennon continued: "I don't believe he meant to be disparaging to the Scottish game.

"He may have his own personal views on the McCulloch tackle, and that is his right, but I don't want them aired in public, either.

"I don't think that's the right place. You keep that to yourself and I've told him that. He will be dealt with internally."

The chances are there will be another more important meeting between manager and player very soon.

Kayal's main source of discontent is that he is no longer a first pick, his litany of injuries having badly undermined his ability to become the mainstay of the team his first season performances suggested he would be.

Asked if Kayal, having just returned to action after another three-month lay-off with a broken foot bone, is now at a crossroads in his Hoops career, Lennon replied: "Possibly.

"He was looking more like himself towards the back half of last year, then he had another really bad injury against AC Milan that's kept him out.

"He's found it really hard to get back in, such has been the form of Mulgrew, Johansen, Brown and Biton.

"But he will play between now and the end of the season."

Ironically, the door has re-opened for Kayal because Mulgrew and Biton are themselves both out injured.

"There's no question the injuries have had a psychologically detrimental effect on him," said Lennon, delving deeper into why it has all gone wrong for Kayal.

"He needs to get past that. He's fit, he's training well, and I think that player is still there. He just needs to find it.

"I think it's more psychological than physical."

There is little doubt that, to most observers, Kayal's problem's reside in his head.

Lennon believes the legacy of his injuries and how they were sustained has left a residue of fear it could happen again, and that confidence is also below where it needs to be.

The manager hopes game time will remedy both afflictions.

"He's said, 'I need to play', and I told him he needs to show his best form in training," said Lennon.

"He has to try and knock his way past these guys.

"If he gets the chance to play, he has to show us the Kayal of old, a guy who was a spectacular player, by the way.

"I think it's there. He's only 25, but I haven't seen the ruthlessness in him for a while."

Lennon last saw a sparkle of real Kayal in the Champions League game against Ajax at Parkhead back in October when he capped a fine performance by scoring the winning goal.

"He was terrific," agreed the manager who bought him from Maccabi Haifa in 2010.

"He was more like himself. He ran down Viktor Fischer for 40, 50 yards and made a goal-saving tackle, then got us the goal that won us the game.

"At that stage he was starting to be the Kayal of old. I just think the injury against Milan, which was a bad one, set him back again. But he's fit now, and may start against Dundee United."

Lukasz Zaluska - so long in the shadows of Fraser Forster -is another set to be given some much-needed game time by Lennon who dismissed reports linking the club with another Polish keeper, Lukasz Fabianski, and Argentinian shot-stopper, Fernando Monetti.

Zaluska could even figure today back at his old stomping ground, Tannadice, in a game which has whetted the appetite of Lennon.

He said: "I always look forward to going to Tannadice, but I don't know how Dundee United will approach it with the Scottish Cup semi-final coming up next week.

"I'd imagine that would be their priority. But Jackie is a competitor and will be trying to put out a team to win the game."

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