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'Rodgers wants to close ranks for the battle ahead'

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Adopting a siege mentality is one of the oldest tricks in the coaching manual but one which can be extremely effective when used correctly.

When you feel that you’re being attacked from all angles, then it can be one of the smartest ways to quickly turn a perceived negative into a positive.

And it looks like Brendan Rodgers has dusted off the old manual and embraced one of the classics as he tries to engineer Celtic out of their mid-season difficulties.

I say difficulties - many teams would bite your hand off for a run of results which has seen Celtic win eight and draw one of their last nine games. However, results don’t always tell the full story.

The three performances that preceded the Scottish Cup win over St Mirren, against Ross County, Aberdeen and Hibs, could hardly be described as vintage.

Whatever some fans think of Rodgers, he doesn’t lack intelligence and he knows that several displays this season haven’t met the high standards that he and previous managers have set at the club.

Some recent comments made by the manager about the quality of the current squad have raised some eyebrows, but with the January window in the past he now wants to close ranks for the battle that lies ahead.

After the win in Paisley, he said: “Obviously the narrative is that we’re not together, but you can’t come and win fairly comfortably like that if you’re not.

"That was the message to the players. When you are successful, and this club has been for a long period it doesn’t take much for people to want to bring you down.”

The message is abundantly clear. It’s us against them.

Rodgers is fully behind his players as they look to retain both the Scottish Premiership and the Scottish Cup on his return to the club.

Going nine games unbeaten at any level takes character, particularly when not at your best, or when missing key players.

These players have shown they’ve got what it takes, and with seven trophies from seven during his first spell in charge the manager too knows what it takes to win.

With 13 league games remaining and with the club in the last eight of the Scottish Cup Rodgers now has clear sight of the challenges ahead, and a united front that gives us the best possible chance of achieving those goals.