NEIL Lennon, the Celtic manager, admitted he would love to give Kieran Tierney three months off so the 21-year-old’s body can recover from playing so much football.

The three-time young player of the year has only just come back from a hip injury, which kept him out of Scotland’s recent games and domestically the Festive period, and he lasted 70 minutes against Rangers before having to leave the game.

Tierney, who is expected to start at St Mirren tonight, has already played 167 games for Celtic and last season had more minutes on the pitch than any other outfield player on a top tier European league.

Lennon is mindful that while the left-back is one of his best players and will be key to winning a third treble in a row, he has to look after the prize assets long-term health, and a few others who have endured punishing schedules.

“Ideally, I’d love to shut Kieran down for three months and give him a rest,” said Lennon. “Let him do some conditioning work and stay off the grass. But it’s not an ideal situation at the minute.

Evening Times:

READ MORE: Willie Miller - Ryan Fraser backed his own ability and can handle another big move

“Will he play for Scotland in the summer? I can’t make that decision. Tim (Williamson) is our physio, so he will make that call with Alex (McLeish) and his backroom staff.

“The culmination of the games over the years is bound to take its toll. On Kieran, on Mikael Lustig, maybe even Scot Brown and to a certain extent, James Forrest.

“All these boys have been around it and played all these games in every competition. Europa League, Champions League qualifiers, turning out for their their countries. It’s bound to take a toll. We played a lot of games in our day but not as many as this crowd.

“That’s why we wanted Jonny Hayes playing against Rangers as well. It was to lighten the load on Kieran a little bit.

“Jonny gave us a bit of natural width on the left-hand, whereas with Scotty Sinclair or Timothy Weah, they would go on the inside and Kieran would have to make those long-bursting runs up and down the pitch.

“Kieran looked great for an hour but then the psychology of the game gets to you.

Evening Times:

READ MORE: Steven Gerrard insists Celtic can 'play the victim card if they want' over defence of Scott Brown

“The mental side as well as the physical side and even the likes of Callum McGregor and Browny were talking about cramping up.

"They need a bit of rest of refocus because that was draining for them on Sunday.”

Right-back Lustig has been a regular under Lennon and the 32-year-old Swede, Celtic’s most decorated foreign player, could be offered one more year at the club he joined for free on 2012.

“Mikael was great against Rangers. If I had my way, he would be here next season,” said Lennon who was the manager who signed the player.

A big plus for Lennon has been the form of Kristoffer Ajer. The Norwegian. who is still only 20, had one of his best games for Celtic against Rangers and in the last minute it was his block-tackle which denied Joe Worrall a certain equalised.

But Lennon still wants to see more from his player.

The Celtic manager said: "I wasn’t happy with some aspects of Kris's play in the second half.

Evening Times:

READ MORE: Lee McCulloch: Scott Brown went too far - he has to think of his responsibilities as captain

"For example, not stepping on and letting the likes of [Ryan] Kent and [Daniel] Candeias get turned in the pockets because they are all employed then.

“We needed to step on two or three yards and make them go back rather than turn and come at us.

“We have good pace at the back with Dedryck Boyata and Kris and they didn’t need to be that deep. It just allowed Rangers to creep into the game a little more.

Meanwhile, Celtic winger, Marian Shved, who is on loan at FC Karpaty, was voted Ukrainian Premier League Player of the Month for March.

The 21-year-old signed in January from Karpaty before returning home until the end of this season.

Shved was voted player of the month by football fans. He has scored 11 league goals in 20 appearances over the campaign.

Celtic yesterday revealed they had received an additional allocation of tickets for the Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen at Hampden on Sunday, April 14. Celtic fans are expected to take up at least two thirds of the stadium.