Brendan Rodgers has pleaded for patience from the Celtic supporters as they take on Kilmarnock this afternoon, as he says any anxiety in the stands at Celtic Park can easily transfer itself onto the pitch and affect his players.

The champions have stuttered on occasion on home turf this season, losing to Hearts and dropping points in draws with St Johnstone and Motherwell, and Rodgers is certain that Kilmarnock – who have beaten Celtic twice this season at Rugby Park – will provide another stern test.

He has warned fans that it may take his men some time to break down a side that Derek McInnes will have well organised, and if it does, he has asked that they stay with their team.

“Supporters always have that ability to make the difference,” Rodgers said.

“And that’s what Celtic supporters are renowned for. The fans genuinely make the difference at this club and have shown that over many, many years. Hopefully we can continue with that.

READ MORE: Brendan Rodgers on Liel Abada and a possible Celtic exit

“Derek's style and how they play is very clear. They play direct, they get the ball wide, they get crosses in the box. They play differently to most in that it's a man-to-man marking style. And it can take 60-70 minutes to break through that because of the nature of the game.

“There are some excellent managers up here, experienced managers who aren't just going to send their teams out to roll over. That's the great challenge we have.

“There's not any season that I expect it to be a procession and clearly it's not. But that should then excite people for the challenge. You shouldn't be fearful of it. It's brilliant, go and do your very best and see where it takes us.

“We lost some games that we’re disappointed in and a lot of that boils down to not taking chances which then creates an anxiety in the stadium.

“You’ve got some young players who are here at the very beginning of their career, and obviously teams play differently and a fraction deeper.

“We talk about Kyogo (Furuhashi)’s strength being running in behind, but sometimes there’s no space in behind. It’s no coincidence in the bigger games when there is space he’s played really well.

“And in those games where it’s been tighter, if you look at last year the two players who supplied him with the most passes were Jota and (Reo) Hatate. And they’re not here.

“In the meantime, the players are working so hard and are very honest. We don’t want to lose games at home. We always feel your home form is so important.”

Rodgers is attempting to shield his players from other forms of anxiety too from outside of the club, with the prospect of Rangers going top of the league during the week had they scored one more goal against Ross County being painted in some quarters as a changing of the guard, and a disaster for Celtic.

“That’s not my world!” he said.

“It doesn’t matter whose world that is. I look at it logically. I enjoy life and I love my life. I know when you have dreams – and it’s a dream for me to manage Celtic – it’s not always easy. Sometimes it’s hard. But it’s all worthwhile in the end.

READ MORE: Could in-form Joe Hart have a future at Celtic after all?

“I love my work and love being with the players but knowing that it’s not always easy. But you deal with it.

“My messaging to them is important. I’ve got experience and I’ve not just worked only in this league. If you were Man City or Liverpool and were top of the league having won eight out of nine games then you would be doing very well.

“But this is a unique country where you’re in crisis. But it’s not a crisis in my mind.

“Look at the metrics we work with and a lot of them have been the same or even better. The only one that’s slightly down is our defensive stuff.

“If you’ve got any idea about football or have been watching our games you’ll know we’ve been missing him, him and him. Other than that, we’ll always strive to be better as that’s the expectation of the club. As long as it’s realistic then that’s okay.

“The narrative is clear in what it’s trying to promote. But for me my promotion is always this club and this team to be the best that we can.”