Scottish football may have shut down for the summer but the destination of next season’s title is already being decided behind closed doors.
It will be won and lost over the course of the next few weeks without a ball being kicked in anger – all determined by the monumental decisions which are being booted around inside the boardrooms of Celtic Park and Ibrox.
That’s how vital the transfer window has become for both of these noisy neighbours now the distance between them on the pitch has been narrowed by such a margin they can be considered legitimate sporting rivals once more.
Deep down though Lennon will also realise what’s really at stake here now Rangers are finally fit for purpose and an almighty head to head looms large on his horizon as well as that of Steven Gerrard.
But before the two managers can begin to play tactical poker, the strength of their respective hands will hang on the outcome of a straight shoot-out between Peter Lawwell and Dave King.
At no time in the last eight years has player recruitment been just as critical as it will be this summer which is why the notion either of these men might be actively considering sanctioning the sales of their most prized and valued assets seems like twisted logic.
Certainly, that’s precisely the scenario Lawwell is mulling as Celtic’s chief executive braces himself for more incoming bids for Kieran Tierney, having already kicked out a £15million opening salvo from Arsenal.
But it should also be top of King’s to-do list as the Rangers chairman gears up for a serious tilt on next season’s title. Having watched Alfredo Morelos do so much to undermine Gerrard’s first attempt at swiping Celtic’s crown, King ought to be inviting interested parties to form a queue along Edmiston Drive.
These two players may very well represent the Old Firm’s crown jewels but hanging on to them for any longer may do more harm than good.
In Tierney’s case that damage would be inflicted almost entirely on the player himself.
Yes, the Celtic supporter inside him will rage against the idea of leaving now, with the holy grail of 10 in a row less than two years away.
Aged just 22, Tierney might even try to convince himself he has time to cement that legendary status among his own people before heading south.
And he could be right. But the professional inside him will be grappling with another question. What if he’s not?
It was only two years ago that Tierney and Andy Robertson were considered as much of a muchness in the best left-back in the Scotland squad debate.
After reaching two consecutive Champions League finals Robertson is now being talked about as the best in his position anywhere in the world.
At the age of 25 and captaining his country £75m couldn’t get him out of Anfield.
Tierney must feel he is capable of matching that progression but, trouble is, he can’t move forward by standing still for much longer.
Also, the bottom line in all of this is Celtic don’t need the best left-back in the country in order to win the next two titles.
But the money they stand to raise from his sale could help Lennon bolster more obvious areas of concern such as the central defensive and attacking options.
Lawwell is unlikely to be tempted into doing so until the bidding hits the £20m mark. But – given the soaring reputations of Robertson and Virgil van Dijk – that might not take too long.
It’s interesting to note that Celtic have already begun the process of looking for possible replacements with Derby’s Max Lowe among those to have been enquired about.
Reports Lennon and Lawwell have had a bid rejected for Aberdeen defender Scott McKenna were being dismissed yesterday but there’s little doubt Celtic are trawling around the market in search of one or two centre-halves of proven quality.
A new right-back will be required and Lennon will also be hoping to land himself a striker capable of keeping Odsonne Edouard and Leigh Griffiths on their toes.
On the other side of the Clyde, King must be tempted to dip his toe in the water where Morelos is concerned.
It was not so long ago Rangers were resisting serious money for the prolific South American, who has only just turned 23 but whose goalscoring statistics are already something to behold.
The problem here is the more Morelos self-destructs in full view, the less willing potential buyers might be to part with significant cash. Right now there remains an air of mystery around Morelos.
There are plenty out there who will be intrigued at the thought of what their club could get out of this player but one more season of Buffalo grade indiscipline in Scotland could remove any doubt.
If King can bring those parties to the table now and convince them to enter the bidding then he might also remove a ticking time bomb from inside Gerrard’s dressing room while giving the manager enough time and funds to source at least one quality replacement striker. Maybe two.
Gerrard may also use some of that cash to convince Liverpool into sending Ryan Kent back.
Securing a new left back might also be part of the plans if all faith has been lost in Croatian enigma Borna Barisic.
If cashing in on Morelos can help Gerrard achieve all that then it would seem like a price worth paying.
Either way these next few weeks of wheeling and dealing on both sides of the city could prove decisive.