After feeling like no progress had been made over the last 12 months, Scott Sinclair has signed and scored the winner on his debut, Celtic grinded out an away win against Hearts and another signing is expected in the coming days.
The ‘Brendan Rodgers effect’ in a nutshell. The reason over 50,000 fans bought season tickets.
Not only has he instilled the belief into the players again, through no fault of the previous manager in my view, he has shown he isn’t afraid to take the game by the scruff of the neck, even away from Paradise.
With 18 minutes remaining in the game, he threw caution to the wind and brought off Eoghan O’Connell and brought on Tom Rogic. Moving to three at the back with two natural wing-backs either side of Kolo Toure, highlights the confidence Rodgers has in this group of players to get the job done.
When the goal came nine minutes from time through his latest signing Sinclair, he shut up shop once again as Celtic saw the game out. It’s that tactical nous and arrogance that Ronny Deila lacked, which was why he ultimately left the club in May, despite his good intentions for the team.
Another display of Rodgers ability to make the cut-throat decisions necessary at a big club like Celtic was his decision to drop Kris Commons from their Champions League squad.
He’s been included the previous two rounds and there is still one place available in the 23-man squad to face Hapoel Be’er Sheva, but is his lack of fitness in training coming to the fray? Commons said he was fit enough to return almost two weeks ago when Celtic faced Barcelona, so it may be the beginning of the end for a player who excelled under Neil Lennon.
His fitness was a concern under Deila as he couldn’t last more than hour, with Rodgers at the helm, he may struggle to last 45 minutes due to the Carnlough man’s high pressing style.
The next challenge for Rodgers is to cut the squad down to a suitable size, and he has done that to a fair degree already. Aidan Nesbitt was the latest to leave on loan to get first-team football, as the development squad isn’t giving him the challenge necessary to make the leap into he first-team.
Liam Henderson is also excepted to depart on loan again to get regular first-team action, where as Darnell Fisher is expected to leave on a development fee, and could link up with loanee Scott Allan at Rotherham.
With the League Cup also on his mind later today (Wednesday), progression to the quarter-final will be paramount at home against Motherwell. Rodgers has plenty of players to choose from and an International Champions Cup game against Inter Milan at the weekend in Limerick, Ireland, so it will be interesting to see if he makes many changes from the team at the weekend.
Finally, the question on almost every fans lips will be who is else coming through the door at Celtic?
Michel Vorm and Paddy McNair are the two names swirling around social media right now, but it remains to be seen if either will actually materialise.
The former has played under Rodgers before, and if reports are to be believed that Mauricio Pochettino will raid his former club Espanyol for Pau Lopez, it would pave the way for Vorm to link-up with Rodgers once again.
He would most certainly take the starting role in the side, as Craig Gordon has made a number of errors already this season and isn’t the ball-playing goalkeeper Rodgers likes to have in his team.
By all accounts things are looking up, but they could very easily take another turn if Celtic don’t progress to the Champions League group stages against Hapoel Be’er Sheva, as many expect of them.