THEY were thrust together at Celtic in remarkable circumstances earlier this year as first manager Brendan Rodgers suddenly departed for Leicester City and then his head of recruitment Lee Congerton upped and joined him at the King Power Stadium.

Yet, the close working relationship that was forged between Neil Lennon and Nick Hammond during that turbulent time enabled them, together with other coaching staff and senior officials at Parkhead, to rebuild a side which had lost key personnel and was in urgent need of revitalising.

Lennon believes that his bond with Hammond, who was this week confirmed as the full-time director of football operations at the treble treble winners, will prove invaluable going forward as the Glasgow club strive to maintain their domestic dominance and progress in European competition.

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He feels the former Swindon Town, Plymouth Argyle and Reading goalkeeper is a kindred spirit who has a keen eye and a gut instinct for a player and is not, unlike so many in his profession in the modern game, overly swayed by statistics or reliant on software.

Which is, for a proper old school football man with something of an aversion to modern technology, no bad thing. “Don’t bother e-mailing me!” said Lennon with a smile as he welcomed the appointment of Hammond at Lennoxtown yesterday.

“He just comes walking in. He’ll say: ‘Come and have a look at this’. I much prefer it that way. It’s important to actually see players with your own eyes whether I go and watch or Nicky goes and watches. He’s been to see players in the past for us, particularly in the summer there. “It’s like a good marriage.

“Sometimes stats can hide things. And it can overdo things as well. It can be your own personal preference as well. Has he got good legs about him? What’s his running style like? Is he is a technician? Could you see him playing for your team? Is he the type you want? That’s what you don’t see on the sheet of paper.

“Character is important. Like stamina, speed, enthusiasm and pace. A lot of those attributes along with temperament make up the whole package and that’s what you are looking for, really.

“In a losing team, and I even say this to my son as well, when you are in a team which is losing, show you still want to win. But the stats can also be important as well, that’s why I say it’s like a marriage.”

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Boli Bolingoli, Hatem Elhamed and Christopher Jullien have all impressed since arriving at Celtic on permanent deals in the summer while loanees Moritz Bauer, Mohamed Elyounoussi and Fraser Forster have also contributed greatly both at home and abroad.

Lennon, then, was pleased when Hammond, who had initially come in to help during the summer period, was handed the role on a full-time basis. He feels he has all the skills required to keep the Parkhead club, who have enjoyed tremendous success in the transfer market in the past decade as well as on the park, ahead of their rivals.

“It (Hammond’s appointment) gives me a lot of comfort,” he said. “It gives the club stability now. He’s very experienced in that role. He knows exactly what he wants from it.

“He’s working away on setting up the recruitment department, whether that be up here, in England or in Europe. All scouts will report to him. He also overlooks the analysis and they’ll report to him, as well. So he’s going to be busy. But I’ve been really impressed with him in the three or four months he’s been here now and I’m delighted that we’ve got him.

“He was great for me when I came back in. He’s very experienced so you can bounce things off him. He’s got good contacts and a good knowledge of the game. It is a big undertaking, managing that department and the people underneath, keeping everything running in terms of the reports coming in on a regular basis, video data. He packages all that so we can have a look at it. He’s very, very proficient at it.

“I think, in terms of a manager’s role, recruitment is up there as one of the most important facets of managing these days. So his role will be key here. Behind the scenes, he’ll be working away. He’s a hard worker, I’ve seen that, he’s very diligent and very professional. And he’s a good guy, as well.”

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Hammond will have no need to identify a stand-in for Ryan Christie, the Celtic playmaker who is suspended for the Ladbrokes Premiership match against Ross County at Parkhead today, with Tom Rogic available again. Lennon is pleased the Australian, who he signed during his first spell as manager, will get a start.

“He is fit, he is in good condition and he is ready to play,” he said. “It is a nice luxury to have. You lose Ryan for a game or two and you look at Rogic to come in. He is a quality player.

“He has had his injury niggles and setbacks, but he is in great condition physically and he has worked hard over the last two or three months. He got married there so I think psychologically he is in a good place. He will be champing at the bit to get up to speed and get involved.”

Lennon confirmed that Olivier Ntcham was a doubt after suffering an ankle injury in training and Mikey Johnston was still unavailable due to his hip and groin problem.