NEIL LENNON will tomorrow savour the moment he set as his goal when he became Celtic manager over two years ago.
The sight of the SPL championship flag being unfurled in front of a packed house at Parkhead will be an immensely proud occasion for the former Hoops skipper.
But then the serious business of retaining the title will begin. And Lennon admitted he has been so obsessed with getting off to a winning start against Helsinki in the Champions League qualifiers which fall either side of this SPL opener that it is only really now the Dons are receiving the attention they deserve.
He said: "I haven't really given Aberdeen much thought until now because I have been so focused on the opening game against Helsinki.
"But we're looking forward to the occasion, with the league cham-pionship flag being unfurled.
"We want to get the defence of our trophy to get off to a good start, and maybe that will set us up in a good frame of mind for Wednesday's return game in Helsinki."
Lennon hopes to have a full squad to chose from tomorrow, and that will include Beram Kayal, who could get no further than the bench in midweek.
The manager said: "Beram's not up to speed yet. He has not played since the second game of pre-season when he hurt an ankle. He has not had enough football, really, so it would have been a risk putting him on against Helsinki.
"The other thing was that, with Anthony Stokes and Kris Commons having just recovered from the ankle injuries they got last weekend, if we had played the three of them together from the start, it would have been a massive gamble.
"I told Kris and Stokesy before the game that one of them would start the match, and one of them would finish it."
Match sharpness will be essential in Helsinki as the Finns showed on Wednesday they have pace to hurt Celtic, especially on the counter-attack.
Lennon recognised this, and reacted accordingly with positional changes and substitutions as the early grip his team had taken on Wednesday was gradually loosened.
"There was three against two in midfield, and I was always worried they might get a break in the game," he said.
"There was little bit of tiredness creeping in as it was our first competitive game. That's why we just changed Kris's position a little and dropped Gary Hooper a bit back in.
"I was not worried, but I wanted to get Paddy McCourt on and just shore things up to make sure we didn't concede another goal while still going for a third ourselves."