An initial offer of £1.5 million from the Premiership champions was immediately rejected but, as expected, Celtic returned with an improved bid yesterday, which was once again turned down.
The Evening News understands the sum suggested in the latest approach from the Hoops was only fractionally higher than the first, but when asked if there was an inevitability a deal would ultimately be struck, Lennon insisted: “You would need to ask Celtic.
“We’ve had two bids in which have not been accepted by the club. There’s been communication between the clubs and I think Celtic are aware of what we value John at. And they haven’t met that.”
Lennon admitted it was an unsettling time for the 23-year-old, but insisted he would be one of the first names on his teamsheet for tonight’s Europa League match against NSi Runavik of the Faroe islands.
He said: “This is football and you can’t stop progress, but all the speculation is not an easy thing for him to deal with. We just need to manage him as best we can until it’s resolved one way or the other.
“The best thing for him is to play. I’ve seen no ill-effects in his play. He was excellent on Sunday and played well at Linlithgow. He has a bit of a dead leg, but has trained well and is available for selection.”
There has been speculation that Scott Allan, who spent a successful period on loan with Hibs during the second half of last season, might form part of any final agreement but, insisted Lennon, the midfielder’s name had not been mentioned.