CELTIC won’t win anything in August but Neil Lennon is wise to the fact that a lot can be lost.

Qualifying for the Champions League will require his side to get past three rounds, two of them in July, and then a play-off at the end of the month.

If things go well, there will be four European qualification games, two home and two away, the first being on August 6/7, opponents as yet unknown, and then the vital play-off – 120 minutes to try and win the club over £40million and counting, on August 20/21 and 27/28; the return being days before the first Old Firm derby which this season is at Ibrox.


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There is also a ridiculous international break just when the clubs don’t need it, the weather is good and pitches are at their best. Lennon’s task is anything but simple.

If they drop into the Europa League qualifying, the fixture list is if anything more hectic because those games are played on a Thursday. The Champions League matches are on a Tuesday and Wednesday.

Celtic begin their quest for nine in a row at home, which is the tradition, against St Johnstone on Saturday, August 3. They are then at Motherwell a week later and fortnight after that, between what Lennon hopes will be the play-off, Hearts are at Parkhead.


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Two home matches, no real travelling and three opponents who are usually taken care off; that’s what is called a decent start. The manager won't have any complaints.

And then on August 31, Celtic to go Ibrox, an earlier than usual derby, when Rangers may have two days less recovery – which can be key at any stage of the season, especially when players are still settling and in most likely being signed.