Recent form has simmered the dissenting voices among the Celtic support but the sense of disquiet remains. Five successive wins ahead of this evening’s trip to Dingwall suggest that there remains some fight within Neil Lennon’s squad who looked to be in danger of going into freefall in the tumultuous post-Christmas period. 

The 15-point gap between Celtic and league leaders Rangers has realistically reduced the latter stages of the campaign to little more than an exercise in pride but further slips will reignite the cacophonous anger that surrounded the club earlier in the season. At one stage there was fencing erected around the opening to the stadium after a section of the club support flouted lockdown restrictions to vent their fury while there has been little respite on social platforms as Lennon has been the focus of much of their ire. 

Banners at the entrance to the club’s training complex wishing for the removal of the manager and similar toxic messages at the top of the Celtic Way have provided a backdrop of continual discord to the season with goalkeeper Scott Bain revealing the challenges of playing through it.

“I think it’s difficult for the players and the staff,” said Bain. “In previous years there have been nothing but good times for a long time. When things aren’t going your way that’s when you really need the fans to stick with you, back you up and help you get out of those bad patches.

“It’s been difficult for some players in terms of how much criticism and negative messages they’ve got through this hard spell. It’s part and parcel and comes with the territory of playing for Celtic, I guess.

“We want to do the best we can for the club and although we’re not where we want to be we need to keep showing there’s fight in us till the very end and it’s mathematically not possible.
“The drive has never been in question, the results haven’t been great at times this season but we’ve always tried our best for the club.” 

Bain has assumed the number one spot since the end of January as Celtic have gradually steadied the ship. Away form has been better than home form this term but Bain is focussed simply on trying to keep his place and keep Celtic’s stability on course for the remainder of the season. Having lost his place this summer to Greek internationalist Vasilios Barkas there is a personnel element to the season despite everything else that has gone on. 

“I’m not going to lie, it’s difficult when you’re left out of the team but it’s about what you do then,” he said. “Do you say that’s my role, to sit there and watch the other boys play? Or you do you do all you can to make sure you’re in the manager’s thoughts, whether that’s training hard or doing extra work.

“Whatever you need to improve on is what you’ve got to do so the manager and staff can’t ignore you. I just hope I can stay in till the end of the season and put as many games and wins and together as I can.”

One of the few bright lights for Celtic this season has been the introduction of David Turnbull. The 21-year-old midfielder netted his seventh goal for the club against Aberdeen on Wednesday night and there has been a recent chorus who have called for his inclusion into Steve Clarke’s Euros squad, assuming the tournament goes ahead this summer. 

“He’s shown how mature he can be in the game,” said Bain .”It’s difficult to ignore his performances so he’s got every chance to make that squad. It’s always a difficult position, midfield. It’s been so strong and so he’s been doing really well in getting in there in the first place.

“His performances have been great since then so it’s been hard to have an excuse for him not to play. The quality you see in games is what we see every day in training in terms of his feet, good touches and finishing ability. It’s even harder to stay in the team when you get in so all credit to him.”