Neil Lennon ‘pleased with balance of squad’ is cause for concern

Celtic boss Neil Lennon has said he’s “pleased with the balance of the squad” as the new season gets set to kick off.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s match against St Johnstone, Lennon said: “I’m pleased with the balance of the squad and the collective and individual performances we’ve seen so far. ”

The remarks come after last week’s comments that Celtic were “nowhere near” finished in the transfer market.

Then, Lennon said: “We’ve already touched on right back and we’re working on that. Then midfield to front, that’ll be the next step we build on.”

Since then, Hatem Abd Elhamed switch has been completed but there have been no further signings.

Another right back is still urgently required, while there have been no additions in the midfield or attacking areas.

Lennon, it would appear, is placing his faith in what he has at the moment to get the league campaign off to a solid start and qualify for Europe.

He said: “We’ve asked the players, whether this is your first, fifth, eighth league campaign, have you got the hunger to go again? We’ve done that, and they have the hunger and they’re ready to go.”

Qualification for the Champions League now looks to be in the hands of those players.

Celtic appeared to have entered this year’s transfer window with a statement of intent.

Four players came in, relatively quickly compared to the glacial pace Celtic often moves at in transfer dealings.

There were, however, many players shipping out. The squad is currently worse off than the one that started the season last year.

Whether it was expected that there would be large transfer fees in for some players by now, rather than just getting players off the wage bill, the lack of activity is a bit of a concern.

Celtic received a huge fee for Dembele last year, as well as the VVD bonus and a decent whack for Stuart Armstong, the larger part of which wasn’t reinvested, even taking the record signing of Edouard into consideration.

Celtic’s massive financial advantage over Rangers should mean that, invested properly, we can keep them at arm’s length.

A reluctance to spend before getting transfer fees in flies in the face of that. Celtic are not in a position where we need to sell before we can buy, but it seems every year, at the most crucial part of the season we do that.

Lennon has attempted to look on the positive side of the situation by saying “opportunities” might lie in wait with the English window closing later.

He said: “I think that it helps us, it gives us a bit longer to assess things.

“Players may become available that aren’t at the minute, they could be looking for first team football, the opportunity to try something fresh.

“So yes, I feel that the extra few weeks is an advantage to us.”

Being in the role since February would seem ample time to ‘assess things”.

Lennon it is hoped is being diplomatic and behind closed doors is driving his point home that the team is in need of strengthening.

If we lose out on Champions League football again, given the opposition that lies in our path, the policy of putting the cart before the horse should be seriously questioned, along with those implementing the strategy.

Having left due to similar frustrations the first time around, Lennon will be getting used to the fact once more that getting the board’s ‘full backing’ isn’t worth the soundbite ship it sailed in on.

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