THAT no manager has ever overseen the completion of 10 straight Scottish titles would seem to place an extra burden on Neil Lennon’s shoulders this summer.

At the moment, however, he isn’t feeling it. Perhaps when play gets underway again and Celtic and Rangers re-engage in what will likely be another titanic duel – one desperate to get the 10, the other just as eager to stop it – then the pressure will start to ratchet up a notch or two.

But for now, having enjoyed an unexpected period of downtime following the premature conclusion of last season’s Premiership campaign, the Celtic manager can look ahead to those challenges from a place of contentment.

Twice Lennon has found himself effectively on trial for the job, the first time when he succeeded Tony Mowbray in 2010 and then again after Brendan Rodgers departed last spring. That latter spell, when he was effectively given three months to show he deserved the job on a permanent basis, he believes will prove to be far more draining than anything he will face in the 12 months ahead.

“This coming season is certainly going to be one of the most exciting, that’s for sure,” he said after being named the William Hill Scottish Football Writers’ Association Manager of the Year.

“But in terms of pressure I don’t think I’ll ever go through the pressure I went through when I came in the second time around.

“I’ve had a good 14 or 15 months now back in the job so I’m comfortable in my own skin. We’ve got a real good structure and backroom staff here.

“I’m excited, I’m hopeful and the pressure is one I’m looking to enjoy more than I would have when I came in those first few months [last year].

“That was unbelievable scrutiny and analysis. But I’m excited and I think the players and fans will be too.

“It’s something monumental we’re going for and has never been done before so that’s a huge driving motivation for myself, the backroom team, the players and the supporters.”

Management at one of the top clubs can be all-consuming. With training set to return this week and the club’s summer recruitment plans up and running, Lennon is trying to savour the last few days of quiet time before the madness descends once more.

“As you get older you can better find that work/life balance,” he admitted. “I think that’s important as you are very rarely able to switch off.

“We had an executive meeting [on Thursday] around players, the forthcoming season and getting the players back into training which is going to kick off this week.

“Obviously we have the recruitment process, bringing players in, which we are very excited about too. Through this pandemic we have had a bit more time to reflect and take things. It’s monumental what the club has done over the last decade. More than ever we go into this season with real excitement and anticipation.”

The resumption of training on Thursday will be like no other pre-season, with restrictions in place to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

“Initially we will be training in small groups which is fine, just basically bedding the players in again,” explained Lennon.

“Then we may look to go away to a training camp. We are pursuing a couple of avenues that may be a possibility. Could that be abroad? It could do, yes. That’s something we are looking at no question.

“That would maybe allow us into training in bigger groups which is obviously very important in your preparation for the new season.

“All those processes and think clouds are all in place at the minute. We do feel confident that if there is the possibility of going to a camp we will.”

The new campaign will open with another award on the mantelpiece, Lennon’s third nod from the nation’s football writers. But he modestly shared the plaudits.

“Winning an award is something I’m absolutely delighted with,” he added. “Considering there was a lot of good competition around I’m very grateful.

“It’s a team effort and an indication for how well the team played and the support I got from my backroom staff, too.

“It’s been a hugely satisfying season and I’m delighted with the quality of the team’s performances, domestically and in Europe.

“The improvement in individual players, their style of play and the amount of goals we scored, we were really good to watch.

‘We played at a great intensity. I’ve got to speak so highly of the players, the mentality has been absolutely top class.

“When I came in it was very pressurised, a really intense period of my managerial career. I took a lot from that and this season we carried it on and played with a real swashbuckling style that the fans enjoyed.

“Ultimately it was about getting results and it’s not as if we were scratching for those. We were fairly dominant in games and the number of goals pleased me more than anything else.”