NEIL Lennon has admitted that Mikey Johnston’s hip and groin injury is starting to cause him concern – but stressed the Celtic winger is not expected to be sidelined long-term.

Johnston was a regular starter for the Scottish champions during the opening weeks of the 2019/20 campaign.

However, the 20-year-old limped off towards the end of the 2-0 win over Rangers at Ibrox at the start of last month and hasn’t featured for the treble treble winners since.

Lennon had hoped the Scotland Under-21 player would have returned to training before now.

READ MORE: Celtic winger Mikey Johnston ruled out of Hamilton fixture

“Mikey is still out and still struggling with the hip and groin area,” he said. “It’s a bit of a concern. He’s been out since the Rangers game and we’ve missed him, that dynamism, at times.

“He’s a bit frustrated as it’s been so slow, but it’s not going to be long term. We were hoping he’d be back after three weeks, but it’s been more of a slow burner.

“It’s nearly doubled the time we were hoping he’d be back on the training ground.”

Meanwhile, Lennon has stressed that he would be happy to speak to Karamoko Dembele over his choice to choose to play for England ahead of Scotland if the teenager approaches him.

“I only found out about that today,” he said. “It’s news to me. It’s a personal decision and it might change, you never know.

“My door is open if he wants to come and have a chat. I can always talk to him about it. But I think it will always come from the family first.”

HeraldScotland:

READ MORE: Celtic youngster Karamoko Dembele opts for England over Scotland

Lennon handed Dembele his Celtic debut in his side’s final Ladbrokes Premiership game against Hearts last season.

“We’ll see if he plays more in the first team,” he said. “We may drip feed him because there is a lot of competition.

“But I’m really enjoying watching him play. He came on for 45 minutes against Albion Rovers a couple of weeks ago and he was a joy to watch.

“So I’m delighted with him and he’s really happy. He’s a top talent and obviously one who is really important to us.”