AFTER five months or so of kicking his heels in the house, the last thing Neil Lennon – or anyone who lives with him – would have wanted, was another hiatus in Celtic’s schedule. Thanks to the recklessness of Boli Bolingoli though, that’s exactly what has happened.

His frustration has upset the quiet on the domestic front in the Lennon household, and it has also given the Celtic manager an unwanted cause for concern ahead of tonight’s one-off Champions League qualifier against KR Reykjavik at Celtic Park.

He is hoping though that the shared frustration of his players at having to sit out the last week of action will help overcome any ring-rust that has set back in since the draw against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park a week past Sunday.

“It’s been very frustrating,” Lennon said. “I think I’ve been pretty difficult to live with at home.

“We’re all itching to get back into competitive action. We all know the importance of the game and those coming up.

“We’re fully focused on getting back into the style of play and the intensity of play that we’ve become accustomed to over the last 16 months or so.

“We’ve just made the best of the situation. We’ve had a good week’s training. Obviously, we would have liked the games under our belt going into this one, but the players are just itching to get back on the pitch and get playing again.”

While the Bolingoli situation will be dealt with over the next few days by the Celtic hierarchy, it doesn’t take Mystic Meg to predict that we might not see the Belgian in the hoops ever again.

The severity of the punishment he receives will fit the crime, and Lennon hopes it will also serve as a deterrent to other players who may be tempted to flout the Covid-19 guidelines.

“I think [the penny has dropped],” he said. “Look, we’re in a privileged position, we’ve had special dispensation to get the game up and running and the club has worked tirelessly to help encourage that.

“We’ve put a lot of good practices in place, and the players don’t need reminding of their personal responsibilities.

“The player has made a mistake, the club has been punished for it, and we’ve all had to deal with the fallout from it as best we can.

“Now it’s time to look forward and to get playing football, which we all want to do.”

That chance will come this evening, and while you might be forgiven for assuming that the domestic scene is the top priority for Celtic this season given the chance to secure 10 in-a-row, the significance of navigating the fixture will be pressed home to Lennon’s players.

“It’s always important for the club,” he said. “We missed out on the Champions League group stage in the previous two seasons and we want to go one better this time.

“We had a good Europa League campaign last season which ended disappointingly but the players will have got a great deal of experience from that.

“Albeit, there are no crowds at the minute and you can see in the Champions League and Europa League games over the past few weeks, they have been full of real cup tie type of games. I’m not expecting this to be any different.

“The big European nights brighten up the season. They are important for the gravitas of the club and the development of the players, individually and as a team, to come up against the best.

“The Champions League is the best competition in the world. For myself as a coach, it would be amazing to go back there with this group of players.

“But it's not about me. It’s about the likes of Jeremie Frimpong, Chris Jullien and Hatem Elhamed who haven’t experienced it before.

“Also, guys like Ryan Christie and even Odsonne Edouard, who haven’t had much football at that level. So, it’s pivotal we try and negotiate these ties the best we can and then it opens up the season for you.”

New arrival Albian Ajeti will be in the squad for the match, although is unlikely to start as he looks to build up his fitness.

Lennon wouldn’t be drawn on the possibility of any more new arrivals, such as Brighton defender Shane Duffy, who has been heavily linked with a move to his boyhood heroes.

“I’m not going to comment on potential targets or players we may be interested in, I just think that’s folly at the minute,” he said.

“As I’ve said ad nauseum, we’re looking at a couple of positions to strengthen, and hopefully we can do that over the next week or so.

“We’re juggling some balls and that’s always the case when the transfer window is open.

“We’re looking at areas we need to add to. We’ve cleared the decks quite a bit this year and Marian Shved has just gone to Mechelen as well, so we’re looking to add one or two to what we already have.

“I’m pretty happy with the squad and the way it is shaping up at the minute, but it’s always good to add one or two where and when we can.”