LAST Christmas, Celtic released a festive charity song including the immortal line ‘Holy Moly Bolingoli’. Whether Neil Lennon’s words towards the defender were fit for a children's Christmas carol when Bolingoli flouted lockdown restrictions to place Celtic’s season into temporary suspension is doubtful, but the sentiment would have been the same. Particularly as Celtic, in his opinion, are now counting the cost of his actions in a major way.

The postponement of two matches which followed for Celtic so early in their season was, according to Lennon, a major contributory factor in their Champions League qualifying exit to Ferencvaros, with his players lacking in match sharpness.

Time has perhaps simmered Lennon’s anger towards Bolingoli down a little, wishing the defender well after dispatching him to Turkey for a loan spell with Istanbul Basaksehir, but clearly some resentment still remains over what has turned out to be the most expensive package holiday to Spain in history.

“It was very disruptive to our plans and our preparations,” Lennon said.

“We missed out on two games that, one, would have maybe put us in a better position than we found ourselves in the league, and two, we would have been two games fitter.

“The players would have had two more games in their legs, and we would have been up to speed more.

“Of course it could have [assisted our Champions League campaign], it would have been a huge benefit going into those games and that’s what we had planned for.

“What happened was totally unforeseen, it could have been avoided, but to lose those two games was a massive disruption to what we were doing.

“We went into the Ferencvaros game undercooked and hadn’t played a game in 10 days.

“It’s done and he has made a mistake. He’s a human being, it’s a human error and it cost us at the time.

“It was a couple of games we are now endeavouring to make up. He has a new challenge now in his career, a loan with an option to buy.

“I never got the chance to see him, because of what’s going on. But obviously we will be keeping an eye on his progress.”

The fragility of the football season has of course been exemplified over the last week or so, with three St Mirren goalkeepers testing positive for coronavirus ahead of the weekend loss to Hibernian, and three more players from Hamilton testing positive just yesterday, none of whom are suggested to have acted in a manner as reckless as Bolingoli.

Lennon has huge sympathy for all of those involved, particularly St Mirren boss Jim Goodwin, who will send out emergency loan signing Bobby Zlamal in goals again tonight when Celtic make the short trip to Paisley.

“It’s a worry,” he said. “People are sometimes going to get this virus whether they are doing the right things or not, I think.

“You just have to have contingency plans in place. I’m not saying St Mirren didn’t, but that’s totally out of the blue what happened to them. What happened to us was out of the blue.

“Everyone is learning as we go along with this thing, whether it is football clubs, boards, associations or governments.

“Things can change all the time, whether that’s the virus itself or the conditions you to live under and abide by.”

The point on associations dealing with the pandemic on the hop may prove a salient one, with Lennon fearing a second Covid-19 wave may prompt the SPFL to call the league early once again.

“I don’t think that’s what anybody wants,” he said.

“To do it once probably wasn’t satisfactory to anyone, but for it to happen again would be unpalatable and not good for the game.

“You want to avoid it, but in my own view, we’ll probably get a second spike of this in society, because it seems to be the way these things pan out.

“We’re just going to have to try and live with it the best we can.

“People have got to try, for me, to get back to as normal a life as possible, even though things aren’t normal, without being reckless with it.”

Lennon, meanwhile, may make changes for tonight’s game against St Mirren after the thumping defeat of Ross County on Sunday, a scoreline that he feels masked a few deficiencies in their overall showing.

“We had a few creases to iron out after the first-half performance,” he said. “But to come away with a 5-0 win was great.

“It was also five different goalscorers which was great to see. We have another important game now on Wednesday night so I’m hoping for improvement again in the level of performance. And I still hope we score at will.

“We have some real good strikers in the building and I’m hoping we’ll score from other areas as well, which augurs well for the future.”