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A squad in shrewd health

There were other signing targets, and perhaps lingering gripes at the form of Joe Ledley's departure, but the transfer window was generally pleasing for Celtic.

Leigh Griffiths brings an impish style and prolific instincts to the forward line, while Stefan Johansen could be the ideal replacement for Ledley in midfield. "I'm satisfied with the efforts we've made to try to improve the squad," said Neil Lennon. The manager was referring to some of the deals that could not be completed, as well as his new signings, because the imperative had been to refresh the squad and display some intent.

Celtic wanted to act during last month to ensure the team is fully prepared for the Champions League qualifiers. The strategy is sound, although it does not mean that the end of the transfer window brings a sudden end to the club's work. The following months will be spent identifying players who can be signed early in the summer, in enough time to contribute to the challenge of playing in the qualifying rounds.

"It's not been too bad, but frustrating with a couple," said Lennon, with Celtic having pursued an attacker in Turkey only for his club to persuade the player to stay. "It doesn't stop, and we'll try to get players in early like we did with [Amido] Balde and [Virgil] Van Dijk [last summer]."

It might have been possible to pursue a £6million striker - and many supporters felt that this level of player was required to help Celtic in the Champions League - but it is shrewdness that underpins their recruitment drive. At £800,000, Griffiths represents proven talent in Scotland's top-flight, the potential to develop into a player who is comfortable on the European stage, and value for money.

His arrival does not reflect a lack of ambition, since the player pursued in Turkey would have been a significant signing. Celtic were thwarted in the same country last summer, making a £4m bid for Konstantinos Mitroglou, which Olympiakos turned down. The striker joined Fulham in an £11m deal last Friday afternoon.

"We did make a good offer for [Mitroglou] and it was knocked back," said Lennon ruefully. "Sometimes there's nothing you can do about that and he's gone on to have an unbelievable season; he's scored loads of goals domestically and looks a good player in the Champions League. It doesn't surprise me that big clubs were in for him."

Lennon's task now is to remake Celtic. The team is evolving, with the hopes that Johansen turns out to be an upgrade on Ledley and that Griffiths can replace Gary Hooper as the team's most reliable source of goals. Lennon likes the striker's workrate and his ability, but it is his goal return that is most sought after.

He can play up front on his own, as he mostly did for Hibernian - while still scoring 31 goals and being named Scotland's player of the year last season - but Lennon is also keen for the player to develop partnerships, at least for domestic games.

"He can do both," Lennon said. "But we'll probably play him with a partner as he beds in. He can play with [Anthony] Stokes, he can play with [Teemu] Pukki, he can play with [Kris] Commons; if we need to throw a big one on, [Georgios] Samaras and Balde. I don't have a specific double act, but I'd like to see him and Commons play together, to see how that works, because Commons is playing well.

"There's only a backlash [with Griffiths] because of some of the things away from football. If you look at his ability, I don't think too many people could complain. Sometimes players get an unfair reputation. In his case, some of it is deserved and he's going to have to toe the line, but some of it is over the top. I'm going to speak to him about [Twitter], because he has a bigger responsibility now and he can't be getting involved in spats with members of the public. It is part of his responsibility of being a Celtic player now."

There are other aspects for Lennon to manage, since Samaras remained at Celtic despite attracting interest from various clubs. His contract ends in the summer, and the indications are he will leave as a free agent. With the manager hoping to establish his team for next season, the Greek striker may find himself on the periphery, which is hardly the ideal preparation for the World Cup finals. "He will still be part of it," Lennon insisted. "Whether or not he plays regularly is another thing, because I've got to make plans for the future."

Despite his enduring form and established presence in the England squad, there were no bids for Fraser Forster. Lennon does, though, expect the goalkeeper to attract attention in the summer.

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