IF Neil Lennon’s midweek diatribe in the heat of the aftermath of his side’s Champions League exit to Ferencvaros focused on the individuals letting the club down, then his more measured – but still impassioned – comments a couple of days down the line were very much focused on the group who will reignite Celtic’s season.

No factions. No cliques. That is the mantra the Celtic manager was espousing after a bruising week in which he himself addressed a possible splintering of ambition within the walls of his dressing room.

Whatever each individual player hopes for his own career, Lennon has made it clear that the aims of the group aligning now is of paramount importance if Celtic are to go on and get what they want from this season.

"The players are aware how important this season is,” Lennon said. “We made them aware of that before Hamilton.

"It was the start of the league campaign and we told them how historic this could be.

"They know what it means to the support, the club and what it means to us as a group.

"There was no evidence of any poor performances in the team on Wednesday night. The attitude was spot on, but I am angry that we have let that one get away from us, through our own fault. We played more than well enough to win the game twice over.

“I just want the players to settle down and focus. This is always an unsettling time of the year, but I’ve been in that position as well as a player where you have a bit of interest and sometimes you can get distracted.

“I want players to fully focus on what we have to do here. There was no evidence [they weren’t] on Wednesday night. But sometimes doubt can agitate away at you in the background as a player. So, the message basically is – come on let’s really focus. There a big season lying ahead of us. We want you all with us.

“There’s going to be a lot of speculation surrounding players, but we’ve made it clear to them that we want them to stay.

“We will speak to them as a group. We will get them together. It’s not even hitting the reset button, I just want them to get up to their best form now. We’re sort of four or five games into it. “Wednesday is a blow, it’s a setback, but we get setbacks in a season. The good thing about this group of players is that they tend to bounce back really well. There is always a big hue and cry after a defeat but in the cold light of day having looked at the game again there’s not a lot more we could have done in the game to win it.”

That last assertion may cause the raising of an eyebrow or two among the Celtic faithful, with the main tactical criticism aimed at Lennon after the Ferencvaros match centring around his decision to deploy Ryan Christie at the spearhead of the attack in the absence of Odsonne Edouard.

If Lennon had his chance again, would he instead throw in one of the strikers in Albian Ajeti or Patryk Klimala - £8.5m of talent – that were left on the bench?

“Losing Odsonne was a massive blow,” he said. “It would be a blow for us at any time but particularly for a game of that magnitude.

“There’s no rethought on the team, we thought long and hard about it. I think the team was right.

“People will talk about the centre forward situation. Ryan played centre forward and he scored and also was very good throughout the game.

“We’ve got to take our chances when they come. Olivier [Ntcham] was very unlucky with the volley. That would have been a fantastic goal if that had gone in. Fate conspired against us a little bit as well.

“[Patryk]’s not played a 90 minutes since he’s been here. He’s a young player that we have hopes for going forward.

“But he wasn’t ready to start a game of that magnitude.”

One man who may start the game tomorrow is new signing David Turnbull when Celtic take on the club that he has just joined them from, a prospect that is sure to excite Celtic supporters a great deal more than those of a Motherwell persuasion.

“He’s an excellent player we have admired for a long time,” said Lennon. “He’s a very good footballer and a brilliant finisher who will bring goals to the team.

“He’s elegant. It shows his character that he suffered a really big blow last year and he’s came back to playing again at the level we saw him at 18 months ago.

“David is a great kid and comes from a good background. I think it’s important to have that Scottish theme running thought the dressing room and he’ll add to that.

“It’s an exciting challenge for him, and for us as well. We’re absolutely delighted he’s joined us because we were not the only team in for his services.

“He could feature in the squad on Sunday. We’re just waiting for his Covid result to come back and as soon as we get the all-clear he’ll join the squad.”