Thompson fears a bad reception at Parkhead

Celtic coach Alan Thompson will take only one fear into today’s Old Firm meeting with Rangers at Parkhead and that is the worrying prospect of an agonising radio silence with his manager Neil Lennon.

The pair were able to communicate through a Thompson earpiece during last weekend’s win against Motherwell but the concern today is much greater noise levels to contend with than was the case at Fir Park. If what Lennon says is lost, it could jeopardise a Celtic win.

The Celtic manager is serving the second and final match of a touchline ban received for criticising referee Willie Collum’s decision not to award a late penalty during the Scottish League Cup final defeat to Kilmarnock at Hampden.

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What troubles Thompson is a recent fraught experience at Ibrox when, after Lennon was ordered off against Rangers at half-time and watched the second 45 minutes on television in the media room, he was unable to make his instructions heard.

“It was difficult because we couldn’t get the speaker system to work with the earpieces,” said Thompson. “Then the live signal went on the television he was watching so it was an absolute shambles. Then he got the feed back on and we scored two goals so he was taking credit for that.

“We did it last week at Motherwell, we had the feed between the two of us and it was quite good. I’m sure there will be a slightly different noise level this week to last so whether I’ll be able to hear him or make sense of him, I don’t know.”

If Lennon’s voice is drowned out it means Thompson, as well as fellow assistants Johan Mjallby and Garry Parker, must pool their resources and make any tactical calls needed during the contest, all too mindful Lennon will be observing from afar.

“If we need to, we will make a call during the match, myself, Johan and Garry. Then if we get it wrong we get absolutely slated from him after the game,” laughed Thompson. “I try to be slightly calmer now than I was as a player. Hopefully I have learned from my mistakes as a player.

“I tried to calm someone down last year in the so-called ‘game of shame’ when Ally McCoist hurled abuse at Lenny. I got a barrage of abuse from El Hadji Diouf when I was only trying to calm something down. That’s what you get when you try to calm someone down.”