By SCOTT MULLEN at the Merkur Arena

CHANGE was the word of the day before Celtic’s second pre-season match began yesterday afternoon.

After spending six days in Slovenia on the first half of their pre-season trip, a change of scenery could be seen out of the team bus windows as Brendan Rodgers and his squad hurtled across the Slovenian border and into Austria for this meeting with Sturm Graz.

Once inside the Merkur Arena, it became clear the Celtic manager would continue to tinker with his new squad through personnel and formations as he once again chose to field separate teams in either half that differed to the two that drew with Celje three days earlier.

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Yet despite all of this, the encouragement found in this 1-0 victory was founded in familiarity for the hardy bunch of travelling supporters congregated at the far side of the stadium.HeraldScotland: 03/07/16 PRE-SEASON FRIENDLY .  STURM GRAZ V CELTIC .  STADUIM GRAZ LIEBENAU - AUSTRIA .  Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers.

In just over a weeks’ time Rodgers will be tasked with picking a Celtic team fit enough to deal with a Champions League qualifier against either Flora of Estonia or Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar.

While neither side can be considered household names – the team from Tallinn are currently 2-1 up after a home first leg victory – the importance of hitting the ground running at such an early stage of the campaign is a matter that doesn’t need underlined to anyone at the Parkhead club.

With that in mind, it will be of great encouragement that not only did many of the players in Rodgers’ dressing showing signs of invigoration here, but it was the same clutch that also sizzled in the Slovenian sun on Thursday evening.

In the first half the midfield three of Stefan Johansen – who played in a more defensive role yesterday – along with Ryan Christie and Scott Allan offered a dynamism that is already looking like being a key component of Celtic’s success this seas, especially if Rodgers is intent in playing with a high tempo.

After the break there were more standouts who continued on from their fine form shown in the Arena Petrol back over the border. It almost goes without saying that left-back Kieran Tierney displayed his usual mix of composure commitment and cunning down the flank. HeraldScotland: Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers (3rd from left) watches his team with his coaching staff

In front of him Stuart Armstrong once again impressed in a wide role, often getting the better of Marvin Potzmann, while on the other side Patrick Roberts showed no hesitation in running at and beating Kristijan Dobras with great regularity to cut inside and shoot at goal.

"I think we’re piling a lot of work into them so they’re having to digest a lot, on and off the field," said the Celtic manager.

"There are double sessions, review sessions, analysis of performance. So there is a lot of work going in.

"But they’re taking on board the concepts really well. I think you can see that on the field."

It was the pairing of Allan and Christie that ultimately proved the difference between the two teams in this game as the latter grabbed the only goal of the game after 36 minutes. A neat ball through to Allan look to offer the former Hibernian man with the perfect opportunity as he twisted inside and shot for goal from five yards.

As his goal-bound effort was blocked, the midfielder showed great awareness to not rush another shot but square the ball to the in-rushing Christie to smash a shot high into the net.

Rodgers has stressed his vision of high pressing and that was abundantly clear in the immediate aftermath of Celtic going ahead. Within a matter of just a few seconds his team had won the ball back before bursting through on goal after a reverse pass from Nadir Ciftci to Henderson, but the midfielder could only send his shot direct at the keeper.

All this came after Ciftci, who got Celtic’s first on Thursday, had one shot cleared off the line before he later rounded keeper Christian Gratzzei after a ball through from Christie only to screw his shot wide.

The second half was more of a placid affair as a raft of changes on both sides disrupted the flow. However, there was one key moment for Rodgers who saw captain Scott brown take to the field for the last 30 minutes having sat out Thursday night due to a tight hamstring.

"Scott is keen to improve his game and he's been working hard, so it was the right time to throw him in," added Rodgers. "Like the others, Scott is way off being fully fit but it was good to get him in the team,

"He has a real captain's influence and we shall see if he can start the first European game."

In the end, though, it was a job well done for Celtic. On Wednesday they will travel to the Slovenian capital to take on Olimpija Ljubljana. With their Champions League only a week after that, Rodgers will be hoping the familiarity felt in Graz returns back over the border with them.