The cast of performers that AC Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri can call upon for Champions League opening night at 'La Scala del Calcio' - a nickname derived from the famous opera house nearby - continues to be whittled down with each passing day.
Before Saturday's 2-2 draw with Torino he was without Daniele Bonera, Ignazio Abate, Mattia De Sciglio, Matias Silvestre, Giampaolo Pazzini, Stephan El Shaarawy and M'Baye Niang. Since then he has lost Riccardo Montolivo and Andrea Poli.
Yesterday then brought the news that Kaka - the prodigal son who has only had time to make one appearance since his dramatic return from Madrid - could be out for as long as a month with a muscle strain, the Brazilian subsequently revealing he's asked the club to stop paying his wages until he's fit again.
Even if he's not exactly in his prime, not having to face the player that shrugged Lennon off en route to scoring the brilliant solo goal that eliminated Celtic from the Champions League last 16 in 2007 is another timely boon for the Northern Irishman and his team.
It also serves to draw the focus more intently on to Balotelli, not only do the business tomorrow, but to ensure Milan don't drop any more Serie A points than the five they already have throughout a tricky sequence of games that sees them take on Napoli, Sampdoria and Bologna before September is out.
It's a burden he's likely to respond to with his customary nonchalance. The main question asked of the 23-year-old when Milan took him off Manchester City's hands in January was whether he was ready to deliver consistently in a leading role, instead of the colourful cameos he was largely limited to with City and Inter. The answer has been emphatic: 12 goals in just 13 Serie A appearances last season, three in all competitions this term and a string of impressive starting performances for the Italian national side.
"I went there as a boy and I came back to Italy as a man," Balotelli remarked in the interview that accompanied his recent appearance on the front cover of Sports Illustrated.
There are indeed signs, albeit subtle ones, that he has attained a measure of maturity. In August he was reportedly brought to tears by a meeting with Pope Francis in the Vatican. But anyone waiting for him to become a sober, sensible individual is in for a long wait.
On-field tantrums and outrageous off-field proclamations are still regular occurrences, the Brescia native claiming "Only Messi and Ronaldo are above me" earlier this month. How he combines with Kaka whenever the playmaker returns is bound to be intriguing. At first glance, putting them together seems like sending Cliff Richard on tour with Ozzy Osbourne.
Isolate a strand of Milan's DNA, and glamour and nostalgia are bound to be the two major components. Their lust for glamour explains Balotelli's presence at the club, just as their weakness for nostalgia does Kaka's. Vice-president Adriano Galliani has retained the ability to make jaw-dropping captures on the transfer market, but doing so has often felt like attaching glittering new rims to a broken-down car, with the less exciting departments of the team left in a state of disrepair.
For Celtic, the question usually presented by the Champions League draw is whether they want a glamorous group, or one they can actually progress from. When Milan were plucked from the pot of second seeds, they just might have got both.
The Rossoneri adore the Champions League and have won it twice within the last decade. Yet in recent years it has become a tale of unrequited love. Milan have proved particularly susceptible to group-stage defeats at home to sides of Celtic's stature: FC Zurich in 2009, Ajax in 2010. Last season they failed to win any of their group fixtures at the San Siro, drawing with Malaga, Anderlecht, and Zenit St Petersburg.
Whether or not that run continues this year depends to a large extent on Balotelli. A large part of Lennon's scheming would already have been focused on thwarting the striker, but with Kaka, El Shaarawy et al missing and Kevin Prince Boateng sold to Schalke, it becomes especially significant.
There are of course other talented attacking players in the Milan ranks, Robinho and Alessandro Matri among them.
But stopping Super Mario will go a huge way towards ensuring that it's Glaswegian voices that sing out loudest at La Scala del Calcio tomorrow evening.