WHAT do you do with a group of footballers when they have nobody to play football against? That is the question being pondered by managers and coaches the world over as the coronavirus pandemic has left players kicking their heels for an indeterminate period.

Neil Lennon is no different, with the Celtic boss awaiting clarity on when the season will pick up once again, if it ever does. Having spent the vast majority of his life in football as first a player and then manager, he is struggling to wrap his head around the situation, where the game we all take for granted is no longer going on.

Such is the regimented way of life that footballers experience, he feels he is now effectively in charge of a group of soldiers without an enemy to shoot. His challenge is how best to keep their minds and bodies sharp for combat when he has no idea when hostilities will resume.

“We don’t know how long this impasse will last,” Lennon said. “Where we are going to pick up and what do we do with the players in between?

“Do we go on a break? You can’t fly anywhere, take them anywhere. We have a lot to ponder on. “We have given the players the weekend off, Monday too. We will have a meeting on Monday with the executive team and see what we can do from there. At the moment we are all in the dark.

“We are sort of institutionalised. It’s a way of life. We are regimented, a bit like being in the army. You train, you go to the hotel, you have the preparation, the game. All that routine is indefinitely out of the window.

“And it’s not as if it’s a holiday. We can’t go anywhere or take a break even if you wanted to.

“It’s a very strange situation. The plan is to get them back in on Tuesday.

“Of course, it is [a break in momentum]. For everybody. The EPL have said the 4th of April [to resume games] but I think that’s a date that has been thrown out there because it is after the international break.”

Quite apart from when fixtures will resume this season, forward-planning for next term has also been thrown into a state of flux.

“This is the time of year you are out looking for players, scouting,” said Lennon. “Recruitment. All that is up in the air because there is nobody to watch.

“You are going to be watching old footage.”

Even smaller details like plans for pre-season training trips will perhaps have to be cancelled, with preparations already made with summer Champions League qualifiers in mind. If those matches go ahead, that is, with Lennon not overly confident that will be the case.

“Again, that will be discussed on Monday,” he said. “We had a training camp sort of ready for that.

‘But, listen, it’s not exclusive to us. A lot of clubs are in the same position.

“I think we are covered for any eventuality, if the league is postponed or truncated or elongated into the summer. We will be ready.”

As Lennon raises the point of a truncated season next campaign in order to play out the rest of this one, would that be a possible course of action he would be in favour of?

“That’s hypothetical,” he said. “I don’t know. These are things we have never experienced before.

“[Look at] Mikel (Arteta) for example. How quickly it can spread. That’s the scary thing too.

“There was an inevitability about the decision [to postpone games]. Once the EPL had made their decision I think it was only right that Scotland followed soon.

“It’s not ideal with the magnitude of the game that we were preparing for but we just have to accept it.

“It’s unprecedented. We don’t really know when we are going to be back playing, what training times we are going to be able to use.”

The Celtic players have yet to be tested for coronavirus, and none have shown any symptoms, although Lennon admitted on Friday that the club doctor has advised it is only a matter of time before a member of their squad is affected.

“If one of the players actually picks up the virus then the whole thing starts over again,” he said. “You all have to self-isolate and the rest of the players have to do the same.

“You have to balance public health, public safety against sport.

“For everybody, players and everyone. Sport will have to take a back seat for now.”