CELTIC are set to intensify their efforts to strengthen their squad in the coming days despite bringing in Stoke City right back Moritz Bauer on a season-long loan yesterday, their manager Neil Lennon last night revealed.

Lennon, who has been linked with moves for Kilmarnock and Scotland left back Greg Taylor and Rosenborg and Norway defender Birger Beling as well as Leicester City winger Fousseni Diabate in recent days, spoke after he arrived in Sweden.

His immediate focus is the second leg of the Europa League play-off against AIK, protecting the 2-0 lead his side have from the first leg and qualifying for the group stages.

However, he confirmed the triple treble winners were determined to bring in more players before the transfer window closes at midnight on Monday.


READ MORE: What would Rosenborg defender Birger Meling bring to Celtic?

Sunderland were yesterday reported to have had a bid of £750,000 turned down for Taylor. Asked if he was still hopeful of making more signings, Lennon said: “Yeah. There are things going on in the background we are working away on, trying to keep options open.”

Lennon, who has lost Cristian Gamboa and Mikael Lustig in the summer, stressed that Bauer had been a Celtic target for some time. He spoke to his former Parkhead team mate Paul Lambert, who managed the Austrian internationalist at Stoke, before bringing him in.

“Moritz has a good pedigree,” he said. “He has lost his way a little bit at Stoke, so I am looking at his time at Rubin Kazan and his time with the national team where he looked a very good player. I don’t think you lose the ability, but sometimes circumstances go against you. It’s a fresh start for him and hopefully he can take the opportunity.

“We feel he will add to the squad and it’s a position we wanted to strengthen. I think we have done that. He has been on the radar for 18 months or so. There was other interest in him from Premier League clubs and abroad so we are delighted to get him in. He looks a good type.

“Paul was very complimentary about him so you take a steer off of that as well. I think he played every minute of every game for Paul. So he had a lot of good things to say about Moritz.


READ MORE: Scott Brown: They've been saying my legs have gone for years - but I can cope with two games in four days

“It can be a confidence thing with a player and hopefully we can bring him back. He is a good age, a good profile and is a very fit boy. He has kept himself in good condition and sometimes it’s a manager’s choice.

“That (loss of confidence) happens in the game. But this will give him a fresh opportunity to play and hopefully succeed and show the form he showed a year or so ago.”

Lennon revealed that centre half Jozo Simunovic will be unavailable for selection for the AIK game. But other than Tom Rogic, who has just returned to training from a long-term injury, everyone is fit. Hatem Elhamed, who has been out with a hip knock, should slot back in at right back.

Meanwhile, Lennon has backed Steve Clarke’s decision not to call up Leigh Griffiths for Scotland’s Euro 2020 double header against Russia and Belgium at Hampden next month. He feels the striker, who took an extended sabbatical from the game to deal with personal issues this year, needs more game time. He was pleased the forward played and scored in a reserve game against Dundee this week.

“I don’t think he’s 100 per cent ready for that [Scotland] yet,” said Lennon. “I think that’s common sense.

“He wanted to play (against Dundee), which is great. I’m delighted with that. He played 60 minutes and has the bit between his teeth, which is good.

“His time has been a bit limited of late due to his match fitness more than anything else and that hour won’t have done him any harm.

“I’m pleased with that attitude. It shows the desire is there and, to be fair to him, it’s been there over the piece. His fitness levels are improving.”