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Tell us the truth this time Brendan

Brendan Rodgers owes the Celtic support an explanation, some honesty.

There were plenty of reservations when his name emerged as a successor to Ange Postecoglou but in comparisons to the other candidates being mentioned the return of the former Leicester boss was somewhat reluctantly taken on board. Better the devil you know than a project manager to try and get a tune out of the horrendous recruitment masterminded by Mark Lawwell.

In the last six years Celtic have had two good transfer windows. Since Lawwell was coronated in July 2022 Alistair Johnston is the only signing that has been first team ready.

It was never commented on by Rodgers but from the outside looking in recruitment looked to be the issue that forced him out of his dream job in February 2019.

When you put in the groundwork to get John McGinn signed only to lose out because the £3.5m a year CEO wants to get one over on his adversary Rod Petrie after previously being made to look foolish over Steven Fletcher it must be frustrating to be the manager that loses out.

Neither Youssuf Mulumbu or Ismaila Soro are likely to be scoring the winning goal against Arsenal any time soon.

After the McGinn farce, in the January window Rodgers was presented with Vakoun Bayo, Andrew Gutman, Manny Perez, Oli Burke, Timo Weah, Jeremy Toljan and the millionth winger in Marian Shved.

Before February was over Rodgers had left in the dark of night. Managed Decline had set in with a grateful caretaker who knew the city waiting in the wings, just weeks after mutually consenting from Hibs. The same guy is currently looking for his next opportunity after a brief stint in Cyprus.

Rodgers claimed that he left solely due to his ambition to manage again in the EPL, nothing was said in public about downsizing and the horrendous scattergun recruitment.

Supporter anger was quickly directed towards Rodgers but there were some fans that looked at the bigger picture, the failure to back a successful manager who delivered domestic trophies, Champions League football and record breaking turnover. The CEO was laughing all the way to his P60.

Before Rodgers arrived Celtic Park was half full, bored Season Ticket holders were staying away in their thousands, no wins had been picked up in six Europa League matches, domestic cup competitions had both been ended in humiliation at Hampden. Rodgers walked in on a strike force that consisted of Leigh Griffiths backed up by Nadir Ciftci, Colin Kazim Richards and Carlton Cole.

Returning to Celtic this summer surely things would be different, surely Rodgers had done his due diligence, especially with two Lawwell’s now in senior positions at the club.

It still felt strange when the Rodgers return was confirmed but we took his word for it that things were now being done on professional lines rather than guesswork in the hope every few years a project could be sold to Southampton to cover the losses on multiple failed signings.

Celtic fans got the reassurance they needed, at his introduction media conference Rodgers told The Sun:

One thing I’ll start by saying the recruitment team – Michael [Nicholson, CEO] took me through the structure.

Since I was here I can see the clear change in the infrastructure and the team behind the football team.

Mark has done a brilliant job with the recruitment – you can see the market the club is operating in. He’s done a great job bringing in the players which fit the profile of Celtic.

Halfway through the season the recruitment that Rodgers endorsed has failed the club badly.

Questioned in August about how recruitment operates the back again manager explained that his job is to work with the players supplied by the club. The alarm bells tingled.

By the time of last month’s AGM Rodgers had been dragged fully back on message. He had the final say on allsignings, the not so Magnificent Seven that arrived in the summer plus two last minute loans because the squad was badly lacking despite being bloated to over 30 first team wages.

Almost halfway through the season only Luis Palma of the summer signings has made a positive contribution, even at that he wouldn’t have been anywhere near a starting place last season when Liel Abada, Jota and Daizen Maeda were competing for two places on the wing.

The other six have contributed very very little. Yang Hyun-Jun and Gus Lagerbielke have started a handful of games and are easily replaced.

Neither loan signing is likely to be offered a permanent move. Paolo Bernardo is no better or worse than David Turnbull, Tomoki Iwata or Odin Thiago Holm.

Nat Phillips is horrendous regardless of his EPL wages. There were warning signs in his midweek performance against Hibs, if he is a better than Lagerbielke and Maik Nawrocki then the best part of £7m can be written off.

Today’s performance and result summarise much of what Celtic fans have been watching this season. Only Matt O’Riley and Liam Scales have shown improvement, the rest of the squad has regressed at a worrying rate.

There are plenty of grounds for thinking that recruitment has been forced on Rodgers by Lawwell Mini. He has never had a responsible job in his life, the players brought to Celtic in the summer could just as easily have been lined up for Yokohama F Marinos, Melbourne City or some other branch of the City Football Group.

Lawwell Mini wasn’t in the front line of any CFG club, he gathered data and presented it at a junior level.

There are solid reasons for thinking that Rodgers was duped during the summer transfer window but for some reason he is prepared to accept responsibility for a lost opportunity to kick on.

If the January window is filled with more dubious projects the blame will fully be on Rodgers, he opted to come back, endorsed Mark Lawwell when supporters can see through his CV and have fresh, painful memories of the disastrous signings made by Daddy.

For starters there is Vasilis Barkas, Hatem Abd Elhamed, Albian Ajeti, Ismaila Soro, Patryk Klimala, Marian Shved plus the horrendous and costly loan deals for Shane Duffy, Jonjo Kenny, Diego Laxalt, Burke and Toljan.

The jury will decide on the January recruitment after opening the door to a title challenge from a squad assembled by the nonentity that is Micky Beale.

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