Perhaps Neil Lennon doesn’t need to sign another striker in January after all.

Lennon has been concerned at the lack of options he has had up front in recent weeks with Vakoun Bayo out injured and Leigh Griffiths still working his way back to full fitness after an extended spell on the sidelines.

But Lewis Morgan, the former St Mirren winger who hadn’t started in a match for Celtic in over two months, showed he can be potent weapon in attack last night after surprisingly being selected by his manager at centre forward.

Morgan opened the scoring with a well-taken goal, only his second for the Parkhead club, in the first-half and performed remarkably well despite playing out of position for the majority of the 90 minutes.

His contribution to a convincing 3-1 victory that ensured the treble treble winners will finish top of their section – something they have never achieved before in their history – and will be seeded in the last 32 draw next month was considerable.

Odsonne Edouard, omitted from the squad altogether last night, is the undoubted first choice striker at Celtic, Griffiths should feature more as gets matches under his belt and Bayo is expected back some time next month. Morgan, though, did his cause no harm whatsoever with his fine showing.

Ryan Christie, whose scoring prowess is renowned, took his tally for club and country in the 2019/20 campaign to 14 with one of his trademark long-range strikes in added-on time at the end of the first-half.

Mikey Johnston, the winger who has been out injured for almost three months, sewed up a richly-deserved triumph shortly after replacing James Forrest with a third goal in the 73rd minute.

It was an unusual Celtic side that took to the field before kick-off. Greg Taylor started his first European match for them at left back due to Boli Bolingoli and Jonny Hayes both being injured while Bauer slotted in at right back in the absence of Hatem Elhamed.

Olivier Ntcham, the hero of the win over Italy in Rome three weeks earlier, slotted into the midfield alongside Scott Brown and Callum McGregor while Christie and James Forrest played out wide.

But it was up front where Lennon really raised eyebrows by naming Morgan as the lone striker. It was a big ask for the 23-year-old, who had last started against Partick Thistle in the Betfred Cup in September, to take over from his side’s leading scorer.

It was certainly not a like-for-like replacement. Morgan, whose only goal for Celtic came at the end of their Europa League play-off win over AIK in Sweden back in August, lacks the physicality and ball-winning ability of the of the French forward. However, he more than justified his place in the starting line-up.

He tested Rennes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy with a header after rising to meet a Mortiz Bauer cross in the first-half and should have been awarded a penalty in the second when the same player blatantly tripped him. It was a good night for him personally as well as his club.

Rennes, backed by a large a vocal travelling support, were without key men Eduardo Camavinga, Jakob Johansson, Raphina and M’Baye Niang. At no stage did the visitors look like the side who had beaten Paris Saint-Germain in the French Cup final last season.

Ntcham, whose game time has been limited due to the form of Brown and McGregor, fared well in the centre of the park. When Theoson Siebtcheu was yellow carded for pulling the shirt of his countryman as be charged upfield in the first-half it indicated what a handful the visitors were finding him. He tested Mendy twice with shots from outside the penalty box.

Morgan did better in the 21st minute when Forrest cut inside from the left and squared to him on the edge of the six yard box. He stole ahead of Joris Gnagnon and met the pass with a first-time shot which left the goalkeeper no chance. It was a sweet moment for a player who has hardly featured since joining the squad in the summer.

The Rennes fans’ spirits weren’t dampened when their team fell behind; they joined in with the impromptu huddle that broke out around the packed stadium.

But a Christie goal just before half-time killed off hopes of their team salvaging a result. Scott Brown nodded the ball down to him and he beat Mendy at his near post with a wicked dipping effort from fully 25 yards out.

Forster, who has come to the rescue of Celtic so often in this Europa League campaign, denied Siebatcheu, Romain Del Castillo and Christ-Emmanuel Maouassa with superb instinctive blocks during the second-half.

Johnston came on for Forrest and promptly added a third goal after being supplied by Ntcham. Nir Bitton took over from Scott Brown, who picked up a booking that will rule him out of the meaningless Cluj match in Romania in a fortnight, and Griffiths replaced Christie.

Griffiths, who made his latest comeback against Livingston on Saturday, quickly tested Mendy with a powerful effort. Perhaps seeing Morgan, who moved to the right to accommodate his team mate, brought the best out in him.

Adrien Hunou grabbed a consolation goal for Rennes in the 88th minute. But with Lazio beating Cluj it meant that Celtic are four points clear at the top of Group E and cannot be caught.