Neil Lennon’s homecoming at Celtic Park proved to be memorable for all the wrong reasons.

If Lennon bounced back into the home dugout with a spring in his step at 3pm yesterday afternoon, his day did not end with the same sense of joie de vivre but rather than in frustration; a slammed water bottle in the final stages as Celtic toiled to break down a resilient Aberdeen side as Lennon remonstrated to his bench offered an insight into his own sense of impotence.

This was Celtic’s first dropped points at home on league duty all season having gone into the game on the back of 16 league victories this term.

“Thanks for telling me that…” joked Lennon when questioned after the game. “Perspective is important. They’re human beings, not robots, and I understand that.

“I went in and thanked them for their performance because they gave everything, but you could see they dropped a little - that's fine, though.

“We’re still eight points clear. I'd have loved to have won and been 10 points clear but we can't have everything, so I'm not going to whip them for that performance today.

“I understand the psychology of a player - a long time ago I played the game myself.”

This was also the first draw in 26 meetings between the two teams and while such stats are not expected to prove particularly damning to Celtic’s cause in terms of getting over the line for the title, Lennon himself will feel that a pristine copybook was his preferred presentation method as he looks to secure the job on a permanent basis.

Celtic showed more urgency to win this meeting in the last five minutes than they did for much of what had gone beforehand. There were three good chances in a frantic finale – an inviting Kieran Tierney cross was missed by the head of second half substitute Odsonne Edouard, Mikey Johnston’s low, fast ball across the six-yard box eluded everyone while the Celtic academy kid then curled one effort well wide after finding himself through on the edge of the box.

It seemed to sum up the day for both sides.

Celtic were turgid and insipid, Aberdeen were organised and capable. Indeed, the Pittodrie side could point to a couple of decent chances of their own shortly after the restart with Connor McLennan stumbling into a chance before Dominic Ball saw an effort saved by the legs of Scott Bain. As the game drew to a close, Stevie May might have clinched all three points for Aberdeen with a close range header.

If the result will have taken Celtic by surprise, it will be interesting to chart what sense of belief it might give Aberdeen ahead of their Scottish Cup replay against Rangers at Ibrox on Tuesday.

The widespread expectancy is that having squandered their chance at Pittodrie last weekend that Rangers’ progression is likely but Aberdeen’s recent performances in Glasgow will have given them a sense of belief ahead of the meeting.

Niall McGinn and Gary Mackay-Steven missed yesterday’s game but are expected to be back in the frame for the game at Ibrox, although striker Sam Cosgrove is suspended for the game.

“We will have a decision to make at centre-forward with Same being out for Tuesday but hopefully McGinn and Mackay-Steven will come into things,” said Derek McInnes. “We were probably a wide player short today. Those two have always been important players. People built up these two games in Glasgow but we see them as magic games, brilliant games to be involved in.

“These games can stretch you but you have to remind yourself these are brilliant games. We had a lot of young players out there today and this will help them going into Tuesday. The intention is to get the club into a semi-final.”

McInnes’ side have stayed in Glasgow over the weekend in order to ensure they are as rested as possible for the game against Steven Gerrard’s side, whose point at Easter Road punctured their sense of being capable of mounting a title challenge.

That draw in Leith on Friday night framed Celtic’s result here at Celtic Park; the two dropped points are far less relevant with an eight-point cushion and 9 games still to play than it would have been had the gap been cut to six.

If this game showed anything, too, it is just how much Celtic miss the energy and creativity of Ryan Christie and Callum McGregor. The former is expected to miss another few games with a hamstring injury for the latter will play some part in next Sunday’s game at Dens Park but with Nir Bitton and Scott Brown slowly things down in the middle of the park yesterday afternoon, McGregor’s return ought to offer Celtic a different dimension.

For Aberdeen, it will a case of looking for more of the same at Ibrox on Tuesday night.