NEIL LENNON saw his Celtic squad decimated by a coronavirus fall-out following last month’s international break.

French Under-21 striker Odsonne Edouard and Israeli double-act Nir Bitton and Hatem Abd Elhamed tested positive for Covid-19 while on duty for their nations and were forced into quarantine.

Ryan Christie, too, was told to self-isolate after coming into contact with ex-Hoops pal Stuart Armstrong who fell victim to the virus while Steve Clarke’s Scotland side prepared for the Euro play-off semi-final against the Israelis at Hampden.

However, Lennon, who also had Christopher Jullien, James Forrest and Mikey Johnston ruled out with a variety of injuries, is still backing his stars when they go on their international travels and he confirmed the club will work with associations across the continent to help safeguard their players.

As well as Leigh Griffiths, back in the Scotland fold after a two-year absence, Greg Taylor, Callum McGregor and Christie are involved with their country’s forthcoming confrontations with Serbia, Slovakia and Israel and the Hoops gaffer will also have Mohamed Elyounoussi and Kristoffer Ajer with Norway for their Nations League matches against Romania and Austria.

It will be another worrying period for Lennon who will hope for a clean bill of health while he prepares to resume the bid for the historic tenth successive title against Hibs at Easter Road on Saturday, November 21.

In-form Elyounoussi has reassured his club boss he will follow strict guidelines while he is with the Norwegian pool.

The left-sided attacker, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “I feel safe every time I go to international duty. These are strange times for everyone and it’s always a risk when you are travelling abroad.

“But, when we are away with the national team, everyone around us does their best to make sure we are all safe and there are protocols in place.

“I’m pleased by that because it’s always a privilege to represent your country.

“For the next international break we have guidance and so far everything has been okay.”

The on-loan Southampton star acknowledged losing four players after the last international break was a blow, but added: “Things like that can happen, but we have a strong and big squad and we can replace people with others who will give 100 per cent.

“Yes, we have been unlucky with some of our players. Hopefully, nobody will get affected by Covid-19 next time.”

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