NEIL Lennon gave his new boys Christopher Jullien and Boli Bolingoli a crash course in life at Celtic this week by telling self-deprecating stories of his own time at the club as a player. While the Northern Irishman goes down as one of the Celtic greats, he was reminded this week about the grief he got from supporters when passing the ball backwards to retain possession in the aggregate semi-final against Boavista during Martin O’Neill’s side’s epic run to the Uefa Cup final in Seville.

“The expectation here does take your breath away – more so than ever,” said Lennon as he reflected on that 2-0 first leg win against Swedish champions AIK. “I have noticed a discernible change since I came back and I don’t know how you can prepare a player for that. Especially when you come from a different country, a different tempo of play and a different climate as well. But they showed a bit of character on Thursday night which pleased me.

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“I have told them a few stories about my time as a player as well," he added. "Because it isn’t exclusive to this group. It has been like this for aeons.

“It wasn’t always a cakewalk for me either, it wasn’t always a cakewalk even for the great players here. Everybody got a touch of it now and again.

“I brought that pass back up today for them. I wasn’t too chuffed about the reaction to that one. I dealt with it by getting angry. Look, it happens. They don’t mean it. It is an instinctive reaction at times because they want the team to do well. While it is not nice, you just have to accept it sometimes and deal with it.”

Craig Levein stuck up for Neil Lennon when the Celtic manager was getting stick before the Scottish Cup final so the Northern Irishman repaid the favour. “I just think it is a sign of the times,” said Lennon. “Everybody wants results now, instantly. I talk to you guys and two hours later it is old news, the next story has come along. By the time it reaches the paper the next day we are talking about something else. It doesn’t take away the fact that Craig is a very good manager.

“They started the season last season brilliantly and but for serious injuries to really important players you don’t know what kind of season they might have had. That is out of his hands as a manage. [Conor] Washington is a good player, [Steven] Naismith is a good player, and with [John] Souttar and [Christophe] Berra they are always strong defensively, so we are in for a tough test.”