BRENDAN Rodgers tonight admitted he needs to add experience and quality to his Celtic squad before the summer transfer window closes after the Parkhead club were knocked out of the Viaplay Cup by Kilmarnock.

The defending champions lost their second round match against their cinch Premiership rivals 1-0 at Rugby Park this afternoon after conceding a second-half goal to Marley Watkins.

Rodgers was missing centre half Cameron Carter-Vickers and central midfielder Reo Hatate to injury in Ayrshire and named summer acquisitions Gustaf Lagerbielke, Maik Nawrocki and Odin Thiago Holm in his starting line-up.

The Northern Irishman, whose team take on Rangers at Ibrox in the league on Sunday week, has signed no fewer than six players since being appointed  back in June, but he confessed he would like to add more new recruits before September 1. 

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“We want good players, whatever age they are,” he said. “We need quality, that’s for sure. Hopefully between now and the end of the window we can improve the squad. 

 “Clearly the model of the club is to bring the players in at a younger age and develop them and improve them. But we are not against bringing in someone at 26 or 27 if they can improve the squad.

“When I look at the team, it’s that match-winning ability that we maybe need to have more of within the squad.” 

Rodgers, who had won all 24 of the cup games he had taken charge of before today's game, admitted the Celtic display against Kilmarnock fell some way short of the standards expected of them.

However, he stressed that it will take him time to build a team capable of landing domestic silverware and competing in Europe.

“I'm disappointed to go out of the cup,” he said. “Kilmarnock showed their resilience and took their chance when it came. We are very disappointed and it was certainly nowhere near the level that we need to be at to win the game.

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“We were just not at the level yet in terms of performance. It is a tough place to come, of course, but we need to show more and we need to have a greater physicality in the game. Then when you have won that battle you need to play with more quality and we didn't play with that.

“I think when I came in here before and won trebles people think that's just what you come in and do. It is a very difficult thing to do and you see this defeat that magnifies the achievement from before.

“It is a new cycle and I want to win every game as the Celtic manager and this is bitterly disappointing. Of course, it is always a setback when you go out of a cup competition.

“But we have 24 hours to get over it and there is a long season ahead and many things to play for so that is what we will work on.”

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Rodgers added: “I said at the beginning when I came in here that this was not a continuation. Good teams aren't born. There are new players in, players have left. So we have to work very hard and if we think that it is just going to happen then that will not be the case at Celtic.

“You have to settle in very quickly. The new players will have seen that, the young players coming into the club with a huge expectation but they will get better and improve.

“On days like today, even though it is a sore one, you have got to take your medicine and stay together and move on to the next game.”

Rodgers had to hand Lagerbielke, the Swedish centre half who only completed his £3m move from Elfsborg in his homeland on Wednesday, his debut alongside Nawrocki in central defence today.

‘’It’s an important area of the team,” he said. “They had never played together before. That’s something that’s been really steady here for a couple of seasons. 

“Gustaf did well, he is strong and aggressive for a young player. He wants to defend forward. He will get better and, like I say, the more the players can play together the more relationships they will build and the better they will be for it.”