BRENDAN RODGERS said this week that his second spell in charge of Celtic was never going to be the same as his ‘magical’ first stint in Glasgow. But I was struck when attending that press conference by some of the parallels that are already evident.

Take these quotes, for example.

“There are still a few key areas where I want to bring in quality and thus far, we haven’t completed on it.

“Listen, I always respect that there is a balance because we’re not in the market with the resources to go and spend nine, 10, 11 million pounds on every player you sign. You can’t do that.

“Talents are fine. All my career I have done that, worked with talents, improving 19-year-olds, 20-year-olds, 17-year-olds, 18-year-olds. I have put them in.

“But you also need proven talent. There is an expectation here to work not just alongside the talents but to have proven talents that will allow us to grow.”

You may think you have already read these words from the Celtic manager this week, but actually, they are from a press conference back in August of 2018, when Rodgers made his point to the club’s board between two Champions League qualifiers against AEK Athens that ultimately ended with Celtic missing out on the group stage.

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Fans may have been hoping for an instant return to the days when Rodgers’ Celtic side conquered all before them in Scotland – and mostly in fine style too, at least in the first half of that reign.

That has yet to materialise this time around, but the defeat to Kilmarnock and Saturday’s goalless home draw against St Johnstone have inspired a return to some grouching from the manager towards the club’s recruitment efforts.

In fairness to Rodgers, he has a point. And it is self-evident that he was bang on when he also said during the week that the team he is currently putting out is weaker than the one that ended last season as treble winners under Ange Postecoglou.

He has lost Jota, a player he aptly described as a ‘matchwinner’. He has lost Carl Starfelt, who may have had his critics during his time at Celtic, but still formed one half of the foundation stone upon which Postecoglou built his team. The other member of that partnership, Cameron Carter-Vickers, will be out for another couple of months yet through injury.

It may be argued that Celtic should still have had more than enough to beat St Johnstone at home with the talent that is at Rodgers’ disposal, but the Champions League draw that takes place in Monaco on Thursday and a visit to Ibrox on Sunday that now looms dauntingly over Celtic have drawn into sharp focus just how ill-prepared this team are for such challenges.

That Celtic are now going into the final few days of the transfer window needing several quality additions just to stand still from the end of the last campaign is alarming for supporters, and if some serious money isn’t spent to secure them, it will likely be the board and head of recruitment, Mark Lawwell, who will feel the heat from supporters.

Rodgers still divides opinion among fans given the way he left the club first time around, and he will find patience in short supply as a result if he doesn’t improve things on the pitch soon. But he is adept at ensuring those he feels are responsible for short-changing him are the ones in the crosshairs if and when he needs to.

READ MORE: Brendan Rodgers responds to Celtic boos post-St Johnstone

The stockpiling of development projects is one thing, but of those new signings who arrived this summer, only Gustaf Lagerbielke and Hyunjun Yang played any part in Saturday’s game. Though Maik Nawrocki may have played but for injury, in fairness.

When commenting on the club’s player trading model, Rodgers said: “Ultimately that’s not my decision.

“That’s why the board is there and I can only look to influence it, which I’ve always tried to do in all aspects of the club on and off the pitch.”

Again, this was in 2018. What is clear though is that the sentiment remains.

Rodgers is attempting to change the style of play that proved so successful under Postecoglou, which may seem ill-advised on the face of it, given the success that it delivered. But it shouldn’t be forgotten that Rodgers’ style also delivered back-to-back trebles and an invincible domestic season to Celtic.

The problem at present is not only the omission of players from last season’s side through transfers or injury, but also in that the players who remain from last season are struggling to adapt to what Rodgers is demanding of them on the pitch.

Daizen Maeda said as much when speaking to the press over the last few days, admitting he has found it hard to adjust to his new manager’s tactics as those of Postecoglou are ‘instilled’ within him. So, it is not only about landing quality players in these last few days of the window, but those who have the strengths that are essential to fitting into a Rodgers team.

Rodgers once opined that standing still was akin to moving backwards. Already this season it feels that Celtic are standing at a crossroads.

What they do in the next few days will determine what course their season takes. Fail to back Rodgers with the quality he craves, and their stuttering start will likely take a significant turn for the worse.