THE past had been dealt with, the tricky matter of finding a way to prosper in the present hanging in the balance. Instead, though, Brendan Rodgers took time to glance to the future.

On Saturday Rodgers orchestrated Celtic’s 62nd game in a row without defeat domestically in Scotland. It was a landmark number which took the Glasgow club level to their own British record set 100 years ago, and helped cement this collective in the history books.

It was far from a dominant performance in the 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock, but it was still enough for a much-changed team to keep the bandwagon rolling ahead of tonight’s visit of Bayern Munich in the Champions League, the platform which Rodgers will truly to be judged.

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Rather than spend extra time working on his Munich masterplan, though, the Northern Irishman instead did what he has done since coming in 17 months ago – build. On a frosty Sunday afternoon, he spent time working with the club’s under 14s. It was a moment of inspiration to a generation of kids dreaming of making it to the top, following in the footsteps of Kieran Tierney and winning that six-year contract before playing in the Champions League. However, the inspiration for Rodgers is mutual.

“It was great for me,” he said. “It was brilliant. We had a training session and then I went over. Obviously we are trying to build something from top to tail here. These young guys are at the beginning of their journey. To me, that [journey] doesn’t just start when they come in at 16.

“Young talent is something I love and it’s good to see that enthusiasm. It’s good to try and relax them as well, give them the confidence that it is ok, you don’t have to worry, especially nowadays; modern players can’t have fear. You also want the players to know you are there. When I was 14, I went to Manchester United on trial and there wasn’t a day when I didn’t see Alex Ferguson.

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“To some managers it doesn’t really matter because they think ‘When these ones are 17, 18 I’ll be gone.’ I don’t see it like that. It is a legacy for me, however long I am here, is to give my very best for the duration. If you plant the seed now, ok I might see the fruits of that but someone else will, Celtic will, and that’s important to me. If I am helping that then that’s a duty of care.”

As always, Rodgers is keen not to get caught up in the hysteria which comes with such a fixture as the one his team will play a part in. For that to happen, it won’t be 14-year-olds Rodgers will need to relax but a dressing room of domestic dominance that yearns to be transferred into real belief on the highest of stages. The 3-0 victory over in Anderlecht gave hope – and indeed proof – that Celtic are going in the right direction, even if the heavy losses to Paris St Germain and Bayern act as a reminder of the reality that there is still some way to go.

A slow start was Celtic’s undoing in both those losses, particularly the one in the Allianz Arena two weeks ago. Combating that, and readying his players for the magnitude of the Munich task, is imperative.

“The home games are the real opportunity for you, especially against the bigger sides. That’s what we aim to do. That’s our plan,” said Rodgers. “You have an obligation when you are a big team and a big club and that’s how Celtic play. Evidence has shown over many years here - there have been some good results but in the main, it’s been really difficult for Celtic at this level.

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“So if it’s going to be difficult and you are going to suffer, at least try and do it in the way you want to do it.

“Rather than wait on the game, go and create something in it, knowing it will benefit you. If you can have the confidence to play, then there is a greater chance of getting results consistently over a longer term.”

He added: “It’s not just a case of flicking on a switch.

“This year, these boys have beaten the Norwegian champions and the Belgian champions. Now they are in against the world elite. It’s not that they don’t want to do it. There is a speed and technique to the game which is at a different level to what they are used to. Sometimes, that just hits you. It’s nothing they’re not doing, they are just not operating at that level all the time. Not many are.

“If you go from the English Premier League to the Champions League, it’s another step up again. It’s my job in my time here to convince them they can go in and play how we play. It’s not naive. It’s what we believe in. Eventually, we will get the rewards for that.”

Picking the right man in attack could be key for alleviating pressure this evening, and it could be that Moussa Dembele, who has scored four in his last three games, is given the nod.

“Whatever one I play out of him or Leigh is purely on the basis of the game,” said Rodgers. “It’s just been a process with him - dipping him in for 30 minutes, then a bit longer. Then, of course, at Aberdeen he was absolutely outstanding. He has come here to improve and be better and he has definitely done that over the course of the last 17 months.”