NEIL Lennon last night stressed he retains the full support of the Celtic board as he hit back at the abuse and criticism that has been directed at him and his players as a result of their three game winless run.

Lennon, who has been missing a raft of key players due to coronavirus and injury, admitted that he has been astonished at the reaction to the defeats to Rangers and AC Milan and draw with Aberdeen.

However, the Northern Irishman stressed that Parkhead chief executive Peter Lawwell and his fellow directors understood the difficulties he has been contending with.

Asked if the Celtic hierarchy remained behind him, Lennon said: “Yes, of course. We are very, very tight. I speak to Peter every day. We had a board meeting on Friday and that went pretty smoothly. I’m not out here on my own.

“I have got great support from Peter and the board and I have got great support from my backroom team, who are really strong at the minute. That shows the inner strength we have here at the club.”

Lennon is optimistic that Nir Bitton and Odsonne Edouard, who both tested positive for Covid-19 during the international break, will be available to play for Celtic again against Lille in the Europa League in France tomorrow evening.

“Odsonne has trained for the last few days with a smaller group and Nir also trained, although his sessions are a little bit modified at the minute,” he said. “We’ll see how they are tomorrow but I’m hoping they’ll both be fit to travel.

“It’s a welcome boost having Odsonne back, but I’m not expecting him to hit the ground running because he’s been out since the St Johnstone game. The same goes for Nir, who was in really good form before they picked up the virus.

“We’re getting a few bodies back now. Ryan Christie played at the weekend and Tom Rogic made his first start of the season so the squad is starting to look stronger again. Hatem Elhamed was out on the grass today, but he won’t be available for Thursday.”

Meanwhile, Lennon will make a decision on whether Vasilis Barkas, the Greek goalkeeper who suffered a back knock against Milan last Thursday night and missed the Aberdeen game on Sunday, can face Lille before the Group H match.

“Vasilis is okay,” he said. “He’s trained the last couple of days and we’ll assess him again. He’s got back pain and an ongoing problem with a shoulder, but we’ll see how he is.”