Like trying to read the ads from the window of a speeding train, there is a sense of breathlessness at this stage of the season for those trying to negotiate European fixtures while setting the foundations for a league campaign.

However fast the pace is at this junction, there is no missing the message that underpins Celtic’s season; deliverance of the 9 will loom large over the club this term, a pressure which will layer on an additional edge to the looming campaign.

Neil Lennon’s ability to keep Celtic’s focus while that intensity builds over the course of the season will be tested over the coming months. But the Celtic manager has backed his squad to stand firm as questions are asked of them, a strength of character he believes the Parkhead side have shown as they made history with three successive trebles.

Levelling the nine – and opening the door to a potentially ground breaking ten – would put the current squad in significant company as they equal Jock Stein’s achievement. It will also set the parameters for the season that lies ahead.

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"I haven’t mentioned the nine-in-a-row aspect to the players," he said. "No, it’s just the next title. And the players know what’s at stake. We had all the talk of the Treble Treble. That got very, very wearing towards the end of the season on the players - as you can imagine.

"This will probably be no different. But we’ve just got to keep a perspective on things from there. Every time we were going into games, there was always the talk of Treble Treble. Hibs away - oh this could be it, Lennon’s first game back in the Cup. Aberdeen in the semi-final. Rangers - if you lose this he could lose his job.

“All that. Not just on me, but on the players as well. We were on the cusp of history, they were going to do something that hadn’t been done before and in every press conference it was mentioned. And that’s understandable. But it can sort of wear away at you and your sub-conscious sometimes but they dealt with it brilliantly - and I’m sure this season will be no different.

“The priorities are can we get into the Champions League which would be fantastic. A great sort of foothold in the season. And then the main priority is the Championship which is the same every season.”

Lennon himself will come under scrutiny as the pressure envelopes the club. Having woven himself into the fabric of Celtic since his move from Leicester in 2000, Lennon is hardly likely to be caught unawares of the questions that will be asked this term. On current evidence Rangers look more solid and capable and if the Ibrox side discover the consistency that eluded them last year then they will provide a title race.

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If Lennon was more subdued in the run-in last season following Brendan Rodgers’ exit, he is much more himself now that his feet are under the desk, as shown by his revelation that at 3-0 up at the interval last Wednesday night he was still angry in the dressing room at some of the sloppy mistakes he had seen.

How he handles the vagaries of what it a relatively unique season in terms of what is at stake remains to be seen but the 47-year-old believes he has matured since his first spell in the job.

“You can’t control the uncontrollable,” said Lennon. “So that is what I’ve learned as I’ve gone along. I used to get agitated by stuff but things like that are out of my control. So if you are conscientious in your work and you think you are going about it the right way and doing the hours and the players are giving you what you want, then you can’t ask any more really.

“I’ve different staff and I think the staff are good for me. John [Kennedy] takes a lot on, Damien [Duff], has got good energy, they will take a lot off my shoulders which is great. I’m more experienced. I know I lose the rag every now and again. I did at half time [against Nomme Kalju], actually. You don’t lose that. But you evolve. I’m not saying I’m completely mellow but.... I’m enjoying what I’m doing at the minute.

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“I don’t know if the league is tougher than when I managed the first time, Rangers were very strong in the first two seasons. Obviously people are saying they are stronger this year. Again, it’s too early to say. It’s too early to say what shape we’re in at the minute, though we are going in the right direction. So I think the league will be competitive as it always it. We just have to make sure we are at the top of it come the end.”

This week’s focus doesn’t hold nearly so much pressure. With a 5-0 first leg win against Nomme Kalju, the return affair to Estonia holds intrigue purely for the personnel who will be deployed.

“I’d like to give some players a rest if we can and it is an opportunity to do that,” said Lennon. “I’d imagine that Christopher Julien will probably play. He has a great chance of starting and it is a chance of getting a good 90 minutes into him to get him up and running. Lewis Morgan and Scott Sinclair too – we will look at the squad. We can’t overdo it but we have given ourselves a really strong platform.”