ONE defeat does not a crisis make, but the dominant displays put on by Rangers in the last two Old Firm fixtures, despite Celtic coming out on top of one of those, will have given Neil Lennon much food for thought heading into the January transfer window.

“I don’t want to change too much but I’m obviously looking to strengthen in a couple of areas,” he said in the aftermath of Sunday’s defeat at Celtic Park.

One of those areas will be in attack, where the over-reliance on Odsonne Edouard is obvious. The others remain to be seen, but with players such as Hatem Elhamed, Jozo Simunovic and Mohamed Elyounoussi returning to fitness in time for the resumption of hostilities, there are not too many other threadbare areas to address. Their bench on Sunday contained players of the calibre of Olivier Ntcham, Tom Rogic and Nir Bitton, after all.

If the way that his side have been stymied, frustrated and ultimately overrun by Rangers over the past two fixtures has brought anything into focus for the Celtic manager, it is the need for more of a physical presence in his team, and he has hinted that the greater energy and strength of the Rangers players on Sunday has influenced his thinking going into the transfer window.

So, where might Lennon look to trim the fat, and where might he look to beef up?

The sheer size of the Celtic squad – they are currently running with 28 outfield first-team players on the books, not including those out on loan, as well as four goalkeepers – means that fatigue should probably not be an issue at this stage, even allowing for their hectic schedule.

There has been a tendency from Lennon to rely on his top performers in a similar way as Brendan Rodgers did, leading many fans to point to a drop-off in their levels of performance, blaming tiredness.

Callum McGregor, Scott Brown and James Forrest have all been rested at one stage or another, but those three key men have still played a huge amount of football. McGregor is maintaining his place at the top of the tree in world football for minutes played, a table he topped last season. Sooner or later, that must take a toll even on the fittest of players.

Lennon’s reluctance to rest these integral players suggests he is aware his team can ill-afford to drop points with the new-found consistency of Rangers, and that he doesn’t trust the players he has in reserve to get the job done.

A good few of those fringe players could be leaving the club come January. Craig Gordon has spoken of his desire for first-team football, while there is a long list of names on the Celtic books that haven’t been seen for so long that St Bernards are sniffing around Lennoxtown.

Jack Hendry must be looking to get his career back on track elsewhere after dropping completely off the radar since the departure of Rodgers, who took a shine to the big lad for some as yet unascertainable reason.

Marian Shved and Luca Connell were pegged as potential first-team players upon their arrival in the summer but appear to be off the standard required just yet. Loan moves could be beneficial.

Daniel Arzani (remember him?) is nearing fitness once more, but after so long out since rupturing his ACL on his Celtic debut in Dundee back in October 2018, it may be a while before he is ready to make any sort of impact.

And what of £3million man Eboue Kouassi? The 22-year-old has barely darkened a matchday squad this season, let alone made an appearance. All told, the Ivorian has played just 22 times for Celtic since arriving from Krasnodar three years ago. That’s just a smidge over £135,000 per appearance, not including wages.

The most high-profile name on this list of missing players is Scott Sinclair, who briefly flirted with being an active footballer again in the dead rubber match in Cluj earlier this month, without really giving a convincing impression of one. All told, it highlights the squad issues that Lennon inherited from the previous occupiers of his office.

What of potential arrivals? At the back, Celtic seem well stocked, but the way that Kristoffer Ajer lost Nikola Katic for Rangers’ second goal on Sunday and Simunovic’s unfortunate injury record may make another centre-back a sound investment. Brazilian defender Fabricio Bruno has been linked with a move.

In midfield, Motherwell’s David Turnbull is still admired, and it would be no surprise to see Celtic rekindle their interest in the midfielder. Whether he would be in a position to help out in the second part of the season given his own long battle back from injury is debatable though.

Was Lennon hinting at a tilt at bringing Victor Wanyama back when he referenced his desire to bring add physicality? The Tottenham man would certainly do that, and if he can have a similar impact to his old teammate Fraser Forster upon his return to Celtic Park then it would be a brilliant bit of business. It would also take pressure off of Brown and McGregor to play every available minute.

Perhaps the most important area is up top, with Leigh Griffiths seemingly still a little bit away from making a telling impact as a back-up striker to Edouard in the fleeting glimpses we’ve had of him since his return to the first-team picture. Could Slovenian striker Andraz Sporar be the man to add an extra dimension?

It is unlikely he would come cheap, but given he is now 25, he may be seen as a long-term replacement for Edouard should the Frenchman depart in the summer.

Sporar may have struggled during spells with Basel in Switzerland and Arminia Bielefeld in Germany, but he has been prolific in the Europa League this term and also in the Slovakian league with Slovan Bratislava. That is the same league where Celtic picked up Vakoun Issouf Bayo, it should be said, who the jury is still very much out on, but Sporar’s greater experience of European and international football should make him a safer bet.

Last season, Celtic emerged from the winter shutdown renewed and refreshed after the pain of an Old Firm defeat, and Lennon will be hoping to inspire a similar turnaround in fortunes with his January business.