Neil Lennon hopes quadruple domestic treble can inspire his players as they seek to close gap on rivals Rangers; Lennon doesn't know if psychology of team will change; Celtic boss admits concern over new Covid-19 strain
Tuesday 22 December 2020 16:08, UK
Neil Lennon has admitted he is unsure if Celtic's psychology will change as they seek to close a 16-point gap on rivals Rangers.Celtic currently sit in second place in the Scottish Premiership but Lennon is hopeful the achievement of securing a quadruple domestic treble on Sunday can kick-start their league form.
They do have three games in hand and face bottom side Ross County next - who appointed John Hughes as their new manager on Monday.
"The atmosphere has been fantastic as you can imagine, there's a lot of good feeling around the place," Lennon said.
"The players are galvanised and full of energy. They probably don't have the time to take stock of the achievement just yet but they are feeling good about themselves as we all are.
"You are hoping that a big burden of the pressure is off them and they can go out and play a bit more freely and just chip away at winning games and finding our consistency. It's given them a huge psychological lift.
"We have to dig deep now, we have to claw back a big sort of deficit but it is not beyond us. What we have to do is find consistency of performance and the players know that."
Celtic could be without Scott Brown and Shane Duffy, who are major doubts for the Ross County game after picking up injuries against Hearts.
Olivier Ntcham is back in training following a thigh strain and, while Wednesday's game is likely to come too soon for him, he could bring himself into contention to play on Boxing Day at Hamilton, live on Sky Sports.
Lennon has also admitted he is concerned the more easily transmittable strain of Covid-19 could bring further restrictions and potentially see football shutdown again.
The Celtic boss is confident that the Scottish Premiership's current testing arrangements of twice a week are robust enough, but there are fears a new strain of coronavirus could bring further disruption into 2021.
Lennon revealed plans for winter training in Dubai are currently under review with more parts of the United Kingdom expected to move into tougher tier four restrictions by the end of December.
"We were all hoping that by this time of the year we would have crowds back and be back to almost normality, but it's certainly not the case and it looks like it's not going to be that way for quite a considerable time yet.
"I think twice a week (testing) is plenty and thankfully in our bubble we have been very clean.
"Whether you put that down to good practice or a bit of fortune as well, it's only when the players have been out of the bubble really on their international teams that they have picked things up."