AS the camera panned to Neil Lennon’s face just as the injured Mikey Johnston was hobbling past him on Wednesday night, it didn’t take a lip reader to ascertain that he didn’t appear best pleased with his player for carrying on after his initial injury.

The Celtic manager was quick to play down that particular incident yesterday, but he will no doubt have been turning the air blue once he received the diagnosis on the knee injury picked up by the winger.

It is the latest in a long line of knocks that have disrupted Johnston’s season so far, so the last thing the youngster probably needed was his gaffer giving him a four-letter tirade to add insult to injury.

“People are making an issue of that,” Lennon said. “I basically just said to him go in because it was freezing and there’s no point him sitting there with his kit on having just come off with a bad injury. Make sure you go inside and keep warm. Too much has been made of that.”

What is not in doubt is that Lennon’s frustration at not having Johnston available for a sustained period is matched by his sympathy for a precocious talent whose attempts to make inroads into the first-team picture are so often being waylaid.

“Mikey got a bad one,” he said. “We are just waiting to see but it’s going to be long term, a couple of months at least. It looks like there’s ligament damage there.

“We were trying to coax him in sporadically, give him 20 minutes here and there because he’s a real asset as an impact player, so it’s a bad one.

“There was movement in the knee. We were making a substitution at the time and I was ‘hold on a minute let’s see how he is’ and he said he was fine, and he obviously wasn’t. So maybe there was a little bit of inexperience there. I’m not sure if that would have made the issue worse, but it was quite clear he couldn’t continue after a few minutes.”

Lennon is hoping that an operation won’t be required, but a period of rest and recovery awaits the winger, perhaps prompting the Celtic manager into a rethink today in terms of his recruitment.

“It might do,” he admitted.

“If we don’t bring anyone else in, I’m delighted with the squad, and with the 3-5-2 anyway you are limited to the amount of wingers you can use.

“I’m not saying that’s going to be the tried and trusted formula for us going forward but we’re playing very well with that formation.

“If someone is available we will maybe possibly look at it but at the minute there’s nothing on the horizon.”

Another player who will undergo a period of rest, albeit a shorter one, is Jozo Simuovic, who came off at half-time in the win over St Johnstone as he nursed his long-term knee problem.

“Jozo has done marvellously well for me, considering,” Lennon said. “I don’t know the last time he played three games in a row, let alone four, because he has a degenerative problem in the knee so he will be rested at the weekend.”

In more positive news, Lennon revealed that he hopes to have Jeremie Frimpong available for the forthcoming midweek trip to face Motherwell at Fir Park following injury, with Mohamed Elyounoussi also stepping up his recovery with a return to training on Saturday ahead of the visit to Hamilton on Sunday lunchtime.