Neil Lennon still calling Celtic shots as training equipment ferried to players' houses

He may be ensconced in his own home, but Gavin Strachan has made plain that Neil Lennon continues to direct football operations for Celtic.

First team coach Gavin Strachan takes Celtic's training session at Lennoxtown on Friday. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
First team coach Gavin Strachan takes Celtic's training session at Lennoxtown on Friday. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Strachan has been thrust into the frontline as the most senior coach physically able to direct the Celtic squad this week. He will take the team for the home encounter against Livingston, having carried out these responsibilities for the 1-1 draw with Hibs on Monday.

This situation has been brought about by manager Lennon, assistant John Kennedy and 13 players being forced to isolate as close contacts of Christopher Jullien, the French defender having tested positive for Covid-19 following the club’s warm weather training camp in the United Arab Emirates.

Strachan, though, has been in constant contact with Lennon throughout the last week. And the depleted side selected to face David Martindale’s in-form side – Celtic having lost their entire senior attacking personnel among those required to isolate – will be the Irishman’s picks.

"Neil will pick the team. That’s exactly what will happen,” said Strachan. “It’s probably just as you’d expect. Before training, Neil will ask how things are and what our plans are and then, once we’re finished, he’ll ask how it went and who did well.”

The 15 staff members will return to the club’s Lennoxtown training ground between Sunday and Monday. It means they will be available for the second part of a Livingston double header that will take them to the Tony Macaroni on Wednesday. The isolation period that has been enforced on the management team and such as Odsonne Edouard, Leigh Griffiths, Ryan Christie, Mohamed Elyounoussi and Scott Brown, has meant Celtic ferrying training equipment to players’ houses, as they did following the March lockdown.

“Really they’re working towards the same programmes we had going back then, trying to make them as fit as they can be,” said Strachan, who will have Nir Bitton available for Livingston’s Parkhead visit, following the Israeli’s red card at Ibrox, with Scott Robertson added to the squad after his loan deal with Gillingham ended. ‘It’s only been a week so hopefully they shouldn’t need that much in terms of fitness.”

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