IT was a one-word response to a question that will be on the minds of many Celtic fans throughout the month of January, and while it may have been intended as an emphatic one, it will be unlikely to quell their fears until the winter window closes.

When Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers was asked if he fears losing any of his key players this month, and specifically Internazionale-linked Matt O’Riley, he simply replied: “No.”

While Rodgers' grin said that he wasn’t looking to discuss that particular matter further, he was willing to expand a little on his own frame of mind as he goes into a month you sense he has been looking forward to for some time.

Celtic supporters of a certain vintage may fear that the one downside of the win over Rangers would be that their club’s board would take the result as a signal that everything was just fine, and that they would seal that fabled old metaphorical biscuit tin shut once more.

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But Rodgers has been beating the drum constantly for months now about the need to add ‘quality’ in January – and he took the opportunity to do so again here – and he is unlikely to brook any resting upon laurels at Celtic Park over the next few weeks. Even if he isn’t quite sure what he, or the fans, can expect.

“I don’t know, I don’t know,” he said.

“I’ll tell you once they’re announced, once they’re in.

“I’m relaxed but focused. I want quality. And that’s what we need to improve.”

That focus on improvement is a constant one for Rodgers, and while the win over Rangers quelled any talk of a crisis at Celtic – a topic he railed against in the build-up to the Old Firm derby - he does expect more from his current crop of players in the second half of the campaign.

“We’re absolutely fine,” he said.

“Sadly, it’s the noise that follows a Celtic or a Rangers team [that we’re in crisis]. But I’m experienced enough to tune out of the noise.

“I can focus on the progress of the team, and I can see players developing and I can see players improving. I can see where can get better too.

“I have picked up this squad at a different time to when I picked up the last squad when I first arrived. So, there can be a little bit of a drop off with one or two.

“But the job is to maintain that standard or performance and mentality, as I’ve said to the players.

“It’s my job to drive that and I will do.”

The immediate task in that regard is to maintain focus on a tough-looking trip to face St Mirren in Paisley this evening, where Rodgers has to ensure complacency or a sense of flatness doesn’t set in among his players after the highs of the weekend.

“I have experience of warning against that,” he said.

“Listen, the performances are never perfect so there is always plenty to analyse on where you could be better and where you could improve.

“But listen, when you win a big game it’s really important that you go and bring that same energy into the team for the next one.

“We’re performing now with a style and a steel that I want to see in the team. Against Livingston and Dundee we didn’t give away so much. Then against Rangers we again didn’t give up very much in the game either.

“So, the work rate, mentality and consistency that’s so important is improving all the time.

“But we need to bring that into every game.”

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It may be tempting then for Rodgers to inject some freshness into his line-up in the shape of returning duo Liel Abada and Reo Hatate, though he is wary of managing their workload as they integrate back into the first team picture.

"We will see,” he said.

“At this stage of the season you are looking at physical condition and what the players can bring. I am not in any rush with those two, it was nice for them to be involved [against Rangers], Liel is slightly ahead of Reo so that's why he gets his minutes [on Saturday].

"We obviously have one more game and then we have a period of time to get them up to speed but I don't need to rush them."

After the St Mirren match, Celtic will of course get an extended break after a hectic December, and Rodgers is hoping that his squad will be in a stronger position both in terms of their condition and their number when they pick things back up against Buckie Thistle on January 21st.

“The players will get a little bit of time - they need that,” he said.

“They’ll have a break to maybe spend a wee bit of time with their families.

“They’ll have some work they need to do while they’re away but it’s a good chance to reset before going again.

“We have a spell without any games before we play in the Scottish Cup. So we can do a lot of work in that period.

“We’ll hopefully have some of the injured players back and maybe one or two in the door.

“Then we push on for the second half of the season.”