IT may come as some consolation to the Celtic players who weren’t able to celebrate this season’s title in the most fulsome manner to know they wouldn’t have been allowed to wallow in their success in any case.

As some within the Scottish game - chiefly from the other side of Glasgow - cast doubt on the validity of that achievement and its place in the record books, it is in the record books nonetheless that the feat now belongs according to John Kennedy. His focus, and that of everyone at Celtic, has already moved on to breaking new ground next season.

That relentless focus on the next challenge has been a defining factor behind the success of the champions over the last decade according to the Celtic assistant manager. Having raised a glass to their triumph together, albeit from their living rooms via video call, the Celtic staff have shifted their attention to what lies ahead.

“We’ve already put nine behind us,” Kennedy said. “The focus is now on 10.

“Pretty much after last week’s celebrations we had a meeting and it was about the next season.

“Of course, you still enjoy the feeling of nine and you savour it. But quickly, we also switched on to how we were going to set things up for going back to training, what does the squad require, what decisions we need to make, what’s going to allow us to attack this season as we always do.

“It’s how we’ve always operated. Personally, I’ve never got too high or too low. You try to get over disappointments as quickly as possible and with success you don’t look to prolong celebrations forever. You quickly need to bring a focus back to things and make sure everything’s ready.

“And of course, as soon as the players – who have been so much fitness work on their own anyway – report back then immediately there are new targets.

“I think we’ve been relentless over the years and that’s why we’ve been so successful. It’s not going to change.

“The players, to be fair, motivate themselves. We’ve got a stable group and the new boys who came in very quickly adjusted. We’ve got born winners in the squad. They’ve all tasted success now and they want more and more of it.

“For as long as me and Neil are in place there will be no let-up in the desire to be successful. This is Celtic. It’s about winning trophies.

“But the message is always clear: there’s still work to be done, we always want to move forward.

“The minute we stop and admire all the work we’ve done, and tell each other we’ve been wonderful, then everybody else will catch up and that’s when things will change.”

What change there will be around Celtic Park this summer will be minimal, particularly when it comes to the make-up of the squad.

Kennedy would like to strengthen where possible, but even more so, he wants to ward off the spectre of being weakened by the suitors sure to be eyeing up their best talent.

“We’ll probably look at two or three signings to keep things fresh,” he said.

“We’ve got a strong squad and we’re really happy about that. But you’re always looking to see what can make us better.

“Recruitment is always on your mind, although of course there’s still a lot of uncertainty about football at the moment. When are transfer windows going to open and close? There’s usually about 300 names that are linked with Celtic every summer.

“We also want to keep our best players, keep the core of the group. The only thing that would change that is we get a huge offer that demands we consider it plus a player wanting to go.

“But we’re not certainly looking to let our best players go.

“They’ve been very important for us.”

Kennedy, as some may know, comes from proud footballing stock. His grandfather was none other than the late Jimmy Delaney, the outside-right of Celtic and Manchester United fame.

So, while he himself may not be spending too much time revelling in Celtic’s recent success, he admits to a sense of pride at playing his part in it.

“Celtic getting nine in a row has been massive for my family too,” he said.

“My Mum, my Dad, the rest of the family, it’s been fantastic for everyone. The toughest aspect of it all has been the fact we can’t properly celebrate together because of the times we’re living in.

“But that’s for a bigger reason – the health of everyone is far more important and we need to do whatever it takes to stay safe during this pandemic.

“But, of course, when the time’s right it will be nice to have a few handshakes and hugs. I know what it means to everyone. They are very proud.

“There was actually more about Celtic when I was growing up from my Mum’s side and my grandfather who was a big player for Celtic, Manchester United and Scotland.

“I’d hear about the success of the club in the past. My grandfather would also tell me stories of past success at the club.

“I know if he was here just now, he would be very proud of the success Celtic have been enjoying.

“What my grandfather achieved in football has always been a source of inspiration for me.

“It was special for my Mum to see me follow in my grandfather’s footsteps playing for Celtic.”