This Celtic Team Is Adapting To Change. The Important Thing Is We’re Still Winning.

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As I wrote yesterday, we are a team which is changing and which is being asked to change, and if there’s some confusion and disarray that is only to be expected. Rodgers is a top-class boss and although we’ve clearly not been short of standards – more on that subject in a more elaborate piece later on – we’re now setting very new ones.

I have been intrigued by who has adapted and who has not.

I read Joe Hart yesterday after the game and in his comments, I saw a truth that a lot of people at the club are coping with now; these guys are being asked to do things in a fundamentally different way than they’ve been doing them for the past two years.

A fundamentally different way … not just little tweaks or modest alterations, but a “rip it up and start again” approach whose full impact won’t become clear for a while yet.

But Hart says the players are in, have accepted it and are all trying to adapt as quickly as they can. That has been more successful with some than with others. Amongst those who is thriving at the moment is Matt O’Riley, who looks as good as I’ve seen him in a long time, and is obviously 100% on the side of the manager and the changes.

Some are not finding it as easy. Callum McGregor played a lot of football under Rodgers prior to this, but in a more advanced position. Brendan clearly has different ideas about what Callum needs to do in his current role, and those ideas are tougher for him to implement. I’m sure he will adapt, as Callum is too good a player not to … but it’s not going to be overnight.

Our defence struggled to cope yesterday, and that was alarming for a lot of us.

But again, this will just take a bit of time. Rodgers, last time he was here, built an excellent defensive unit, particularly in that first season. But we need to be better tested if we’re really going to improve. Europe will certainly take care of that. We will grow more from tough games like the one on Sunday … and the defenders will settle in to what the manager wants them to do.

To read some social media posts from our fans is to despair at what will happen if this team really ever does enter a period where we aren’t playing as well as we’d like to be. That will come, of course it will, it always does. An entire generation of our supporters has, I think, been spoiled by constant success … we need to be a little bit more patient at times.

Rodgers is an outstanding boss, whose ideas will make us better. And you might see it first amongst the new players, and those being handed chances they weren’t given under Ange, and that really shouldn’t surprise you as they will obviously adapt more quickly than those used to playing in a certain style and in a certain way.

Almost everyone will adapt though, and those who do not will find that they have to move on.

That’s another reality many people are going to struggle with. Brendan’s ideas will become the dominant philosophy at the club, and to those amongst the fan-base who aren’t fully on board with that either I wonder what would convince them if the guy’s record of seven trophies out of seven the last time he was manager here isn’t enough.

He has earned that trust, whether you trust in him as a man or not. The record speaks for itself. His achievements as a manager speak for themselves. The guy is quality. The guy is top drawer. We’re not going to be a lesser team under this manager, just a different one, and if his record can’t convince you then think on it like this.

We’ve not been at our best, not near it, in the first two games of this campaign, and yet ourselves and St Mirren are the only two sides to have won both of our matches so far.

Even short of our best, we’re still good enough to be putting the points on the board and that’s how titles are won, little by little, point by point, win by win, week by week, and in tough environments and in hard fought battles like we got from Barry Robson’s team.

Titles are won in those games, just as they are lost eventually on the plastic surfaces at places like Kilmarnock.

We’ve come through the first part of a very tricky opening round of games, which will take us to Ibrox, Easter Road, Livingston, Hearts and Motherwell before we get all those sides at home on the flip-side. The “random” SPFL computer does like to throw the curveballs our way, does it not? And our first cup draw hasn’t been kind either.

But kind or not, we’ve got six points out of six and scored seven goals along the way. That’s a decent start. That’s pretty damned effective. If we see off Kilmarnock at the weekend we’ll have visited two very tough away matches and made fine progress.

I don’t think we’ve been brilliant by any manner of means, but what we’re watching is a work in progress and that we’ve managed two wins whilst this is going on makes a mockery, a joke, out of The Mooch’s bizarre pleas of mitigation for his side’s own start. He says his team is still settling in. Well so is ours.

The difference, the only one that counts, can be seen in the league table though.

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  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Aye, ‘random’ computer, my arse. Randomly bent ! Think we actually ‘expect’ every season now, tae be visitin the tougher of these grounds early doors, ah dae anyway ! Tho makes it even better, if and when, we get through them with near or max points and don’t give them what theyr’e all hopin for. Wouldnae be the first time thats happened. And barrin serious injury probs, ah think the team’ll be improvin more and more as a unit.

  • Johnno says:

    It’s possibly just as well we have started with 2 wins, as the Scottish media and Rodgers haters would be having a field day at the moment.
    Yes changes was always going to be on the cards even if Ange had stayed, as he didn’t the changes were always going to be bigger with so many decision making upon players to be taken, and that’s without the changes in style of play.
    Now we have been spoilt under Ange with getting players in quickly, this has been slower this time around, especially in key areas.
    Still find it a bit frustrating that our defensive set up still needs to be resolved and CL not to far away either.
    Injuries to key players has hardly helped matters, and a growing concern with the gap between 1st choice and 2nd choice players in certain positions, to big in terms of quality remains a concern.
    Yet as no surprise we have hardly been handed an easy start with an opportunity to bed players in, which again is going to effect team selection this weekend, with increased injury concerns.
    Still remain a big fan of Rodgers, yet feel he’s playing a risky game with taking a bit to long getting players in especially with a Glasgow Derby and CL fast approaching

  • Johnny Green says:

    Everything is ticking along nicely, the players are quickly adapting, and another Invincible season is on the cards 🙂

  • Johnny Green says:

    Oh, and what might the chances be of getting Jota back on loan? 🙂

  • Bob (original) says:

    BR is a top manager, and it will all click in due course.

    Domestically, we have a strong squad, which on paper anyway, should prove its worth
    over a long season – including performance dips along the way.

    In Europe though: will the team click soon enough for the CL?

    Rightly or wrongly:
    even if BR delivers another Treble this season,
    some in the support – including me – might be expecting that 3rd place in the CL Group.
    Otherwise, why did he come back?

  • Jamie says:

    All this nonsense about being slow to bring in new players just plays into the hands of the Hun media. We do not know who the club have approached and what is going on behind the scenes. I feel sure that the management are well aware of what is required and there will be a list of who is wanted and who is available. Just be patient, more good times are just around the corner HH.

  • Gerrard Duffin says:

    Long to get players in lawell

  • Frank says:

    All fair enough so far James but ave still got the worry ( put another record on I know) about the team being physical enough for the “battles ahead”. I felt one or two didnt really fancy the rough stuff on Sunday hence the required changes at half time.
    Also though there forwards exposed our lack at pace at the back but hopefully these are issues Brendan is looking at

  • John S says:

    A player earning thousands of pounds per week should be happy to play ‘in goals’ if asked to. Adaptability, particularly to be able to switch roles during tactical change in a game, will be an asset.

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