IT may be no surprise that the two clubs synonymous with the football anthem ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, and whose identity is inseparable from its spirit, are finding it difficult to plough a lone furrow without their supporters at their backs this season.

Both Celtic and Liverpool are presently stuttering through their own title defences - to varying degrees, it has to be said - and neither Jurgen Klopp nor Neil Lennon are trying to explain that curiosity away on empty stadia alone.

For Lennon though, there is no doubt in his mind that Liverpool – like his own Celtic – are reliant on their vociferous backing at times to spark them to life, or to spur their players on to find that little bit extra.

The spark is missing, and Lennon, like Klopp, has found it difficult to replace.

“I think that is a fair comparison,” Lennon said. “I’m watching with interest how Liverpool are going this year.

“There is a 30-point swing between them and Manchester United from this time last year. Now that’s not normal; it’s just not normal. Now Man United have improved but not to the extent of it being a 30-point swing.

“Liverpool are probably finding things a little bit difficult the way we have, for some reason. It’s difficult to put your finger on it.

“I would not have enjoyed playing this season, as a player, with what I experienced at Celtic, or even Leicester in the Premier League. I would not have enjoyed it. You thrive on the atmosphere. It brings the best out in you.

“We talked for years of the European nights at Celtic Park where it lifted us to another level. The players have been bereft of that. Again, I’m not using that as an excuse. It’s part of the explanation, it’s not the total explanation. But I think it is a part of it that there has been a flatness about it and that comes from the lack of energy, atmosphere, and rawness that normally the players would pick up on, thrive on.

“We are playing and training and coaching in really different times and different circumstances. This is all new to all of us, really...the way of life away from the training ground and the way life is around the football environment now.

“I’m not using it as an excuse. We have to build some momentum, find some consistency. We have to find some mental strength and start putting in the performances we are capable of.

“It’s not normal because with the fans, it’s not been the same, and I think the players have felt that more than anybody else. I’m not saying any other club, but I’m talking within the club the players have felt that loss of spark, that energy.”

Certainly, one can see the logic behind Lennon seeing the lack of fans as a contributory factor to Celtic’s sudden decline, given it is one of the few variables in the situation from where his side once were to where they are now.

Another variable is the new players who have come into the squad to replace the likes of Fraser Forster who have departed, but Lennon believes that having no supporters has even made the transition for those coming in from abroad – like Forster’s replacement Vasilis Barkas – all the more difficult.

“The Celtic support is a huge selling point when you are bringing players in,” he said. “And the other thing is players coming from a different environment, different culture, different way of playing football.

“Their lives away from the training ground has really been curtailed; they can’t go to a restaurant, can’t go for a coffee, be anywhere. It is just training ground or home. Some clubs have adapted better to it, some club’s haven’t.

“I can’t say how it feels because I never experienced it myself: coming into an environment like this and being away from what you are used to, whether that be climate, lifestyle or being restricted to being at home. I’m definitely sure it’s not what they envisaged. You can say other clubs have adapted well, are going well, but other clubs have suffered - clearly suffered - and we are definitely one of those clubs that have.

“I think you may see the best of the players as we go along. Chelsea have had a big revamp. I’m in disbelief that Frank (Lampard) has lost his job, but for some reason he has lost his job, and he brought all these players in and they have found it difficult to adapt to the lifestyle they thought they were going to have.”

Certainly, the Celtic players didn’t think they would be going into a match like tonight’s against Hamilton at Celtic Park with a 23-point deficit to make up in the league already.

If that situation isn’t to worsen, Celtic will need to find their first win of the year when Brian Rice’s men come calling, though Lennon feels his side’s results don’t give a true reflection of their form.

“We haven’t won in four games,” he said. “Two of those games had mitigating circumstances to say the least. We had 13 players out for God’s sake through something out of our control.

“The performance at Ibrox was excellent - they deserved better - and I felt the performance at Livingston was not too shabby either when I look back at some of the other performances.

“So I don’t think we’ve been in bad form even though this run would suggest that. The atmosphere has been good this week.

"We’ve lost a player [Jeremie Frimpong] who was very popular among the group and with the fans but we are looking forward to getting back playing.

“It was strange not having a game at the weekend but we’ve had a good week’s training and caught up with a bit of work that some of the players missed out on when they were isolating.”