Since arriving at Celtic, Brendan Rodgers has cut a very calm and patient figure. He hasn’t overreacted to the press or the supporters despite any criticism received or expectations made known.
Instead the new Celtic manager has eased himself into the job whilst dealing with the instant pressures that come with the Celtic job. These pressures consist mainly of assessing a bloated squad, trying to qualify for the Champions League and of course satisfying needy supporters with new players and spectacular football.
None of these targets have been met just yet as it remains an ongoing process for the manager. Changes are taking place incrementally as the summer progresses though.
The squad still requires trimming and we are half way through qualification for the Champions League. There has been an admission from Brendan Rodgers though that the club require about four new players which suggests he has a better idea of his current squad’s capabilities.
There hasn’t been any further news on player exits at the club at senior level thought it emerged yesterday that Scott Allan was on his way to Rotherham. That hasn’t been confirmed yet, but he is one of many midfielders at the club barely seeing the light of day.
Speculation surrounds quite a few though and in order for growth something has to give sooner rather than later. You need space in your squad to allow youth to emerge and if you’re filling your squad with players that won’t play then it’s time for a clear out.
Injuries continue to blight the managers defensive issues but he remains focussed on the task at hand and isn’t showing signs of negativity. This is good because despite being a slow build, everyone at the club appears to be positive.
This evening Celtic host FC Astana in the second leg of the Champions League Third Qualifying Round. Returning to Glasgow with a respectable 1-1 away draw last week has set Brendan Rodgers up nicely for Celtic Park tonight.
Celtic showed great character in that first leg despite receiving some ‘treatment’ from Astana’s players throughout the match. All of which went largely unnoticed by the Italian referee.
To come back from a goal down was a positive response, particularly at this stage in the season and whilst your squad is unsettled. In previous seasons Celtic have benefited from keeping their squad together but this squad will start look very different as the team moves forward.
It all seems relatively quiet right now, but I’m fairly certain that should Celtic progress in Europe the transition will begin to gather momentum. Patience, not at the core of most supporters, appears to be forefront of Brendan Rodgers’ approach.
Celtic will have to invest to progress though. It’s a no brainer.
The club have stumbled in qualifying for the last two years. It was three years ago that the club last made the group phase and by the skin of their teeth.
That team were vastly lacking quality signings. This was reflected in our final standing as we finished rock bottom of our group.
So if Celtic make it past Astana tonight, the signings need to be brought in for the knockout phase, not just the group phase. Moves and changes are immeinent.
Tonight’s lineup should be interesting though as will FC Astana’s attitude. Both teams are up for this but with a noisy Celtic Park there is an opportunity to finish this team off.