KEEP calm and carry on may be the trite slogan that launched a thousand aprons, but it may well also be the motto that carries Celtic to 10-in-a-row.

The attention Celtic receive is always intense, but it will crescendo to a fever pitch this season given what is at stake. The scrutiny will be heightened, the hype will be frenzied when things are going well, and the alarm bells if things aren’t going to plan will be deafening.

Neil Lennon can’t afford to listen to any of it, and according to the Celtic manager, neither can his players. The fingers are in the ears, the blinkers are on, and the focus is clear.

Certain members of the Celtic squad of course have already been rebuked by their boss over their use of social media, but he will be encouraging everyone at the club to give it a wide berth during the crucial months to come.

If his job at Celtic was once about bringing back the thunder, this season is about blocking out the noise.

“You get used to that,” Lennon said. “It's been like that for the last few years. A lot of it's not real. “There's a lot of good stuff on social media at times and obviously a lot of fake and negative stuff. You just don't engage with it. It's important you just stay conscientious with your work and blank out the noise.

“There's nothing you can do about it. You can only stay true to the values you have in the way you work and the way you want the players to work.

“There has been 10-in-a-row chat for the last three or four years. When we won seven, people were talking about it. It’s no different. I’ll just do what I normally try to do and block it out, concentrate on the job in hand.”

That’s not to say that Lennon views the league title as the be all and end all of his duties this season, even if some punters may disagree.

“Everything doesn’t just stop at the end of this season if we achieve it,” he said. “The club will go on and there are players here we want to bring through.

“We got [Vasilis] Barkas in and he needs a bit of adaptation time. We are excited about him coming in. Hopefully we will have one or two more.

“The main focus is the league, as it is every season. The priority is to win the title, but it doesn’t just stop with this season. We look to go on again. I’m trying very much to stay in the present.

“It’s not just about this season. It’s about the seasons after that in terms of developing young players, integrating players into the squad and bringing new players in to add to the core we have already.

“This season, we are trying again to achieve Champions League group stage football which is going to be immensely difficult but not beyond us.

“Then, obviously, defending all the domestic trophies as robustly as we can.”

The first step to doing that comes in the shape of the Premiership season opener tomorrow against Hamilton at a deserted Celtic Park.

It may not be ideal, but Lennon is relishing the return of competitive football in any guise. Even so, the news that test crowds could be at games as early as mid-September has been warmly received by the Celtic manager.

“It’s brilliant,” he said. “No-one knew what was coming. I think Scotland has dealt with this pandemic as well as anyone. It’s brilliant to have football back and I hope it stays that way. We see in some other countries the danger of a second spike. That’s obviously something we want to avoid as best as possible.

“In the football industry, people have been working very hard in the background, covering all the bases in terms of safety, protocol and health. The government has done a fine job of protecting the public and the NHS as best they can.

“I think it will be quite poignant when the games start but it will be even better if and when we can get supporters back in the stadiums. Looking at the English game, the novelty soon wears off after having one or two games without supporters there. Speaking to other coaches, the players have found it difficult at times.

“So, that’s something we will have to keep an eye on. But in terms of just getting the game up and running again in as best a fashion as we possibly can, it’s fantastic.

“It’s been quite a while - 7 March - since we played competitive football. A lot has happened since then.

“We’ve had a long pre-season than we are accustomed to and less games coming into the season, so that’s been different. And obviously also playing with no supporters.

“So there has been a lot of adaptation. We are all hoping the players will be focused and adapt to the new normal, if you want to call it that, as best as possible.

“We know the challenges which lie ahead of us and there has been a real sense of anticipation building over the last couple of days.”