Celtic manager Neil Lennon is desperate for their fans to be as involved as possible in their “once-in-a-lifetime” quest for a 10th consecutive title.
The Scottish champions are set to begin their record-breaking attempt with the league behind closed doors but there are hopes that crowds will gradually be allowed to return as the campaign goes on and social distancing restrictions ease.
Lennon told Celtic TV: “This is momentous. It comes round once in a lifetime and I want this generation of supporters to be a huge part of that, as they always are.
“I want them to play their part in it and we want to play our part in entertaining them and making them proud of us.
“It will be difficult in the short term, for the supporters and the players not having each other working hand in hand, but hopefully that period of time will travel quickly and we can get that togetherness and solidarity back again.
“This is a generational thing. This team, and certain individuals in this team, have done some really special, incredible things and we want this to be another season to remember. The anticipation is palpable.
“What I have to do, as a manager, is keep a lid on things, get the players in the best condition possible, but I don’t think they’ll need any extra motivation. And certainly, to have the players and the fans backing us all the way – it’s going to be a hell of a ride.”
The Celtic squad will be ready to go when the suspension of all football activity in Scotland is partially lifted on June 11 to allow Premiership first teams to begin training.
🍀🟢 “This is momentous. It comes round once in a lifetime and I want this generation of supporters to be a huge part of that, as they always are." 🙌— Celtic Football Club (from 🏡) (@CelticFC) June 5, 2020
Lennon said: “We start doing the medical side of things on Monday and Tuesday, we’ll all get tested on Wednesday and, hopefully, we can start in small groups on Thursday.
“It will be groups of five, so we’ll have two groups in the morning, two groups at lunchtime and two groups in the afternoon. So we’ll get to see them all. We haven’t seen them for a while, you tend to miss them and miss that camaraderie and atmosphere around the place.
“There will be certain protocols – they can’t go in the building, everything will be done outside. That’s fine, and we’re just delighted that we can have sort of semblance of training.
“So, although we’ve got a June 11 start, hopefully within a week or two we can start training in bigger groups and all that is for the process of getting ready for the first week in August.”
Lennon has also been discussing transfer plans with head of football operations Nick Hammond and the board.
“I have just come from a two-hour meeting with the board, Nick and John Kennedy, and we have another one lined up,” Lennon said.
“In terms of the recruitment processes, they’re all under way now, and in terms of adding to the squad and talking to clubs, again it’s sort of early days but we’ve made tentative inroads as regards that as well.”
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