IT was always going to be difficult for Brendan Rodgers to maintain perfection, and fully emulate the glories of his first spell in charge of Celtic. Even the manager himself though might have thought his hitherto flawless domestic cup record would survive more than one game of his second tenure.

He said after the Viaplay Cup defeat to Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Sunday that he would take 24 hours to grieve the result, and then move on. And he appears ready to do just that, even if the loss still clearly stings just a little.

Rodgers is less concerned about that first blot on his record as Celtic manager as he is about the way forward for his team, which is in something of a transitional phase following the departure of predecessor Ange Postecoglou and star performers such as Jota.

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But he says he was under no illusions that it wouldn’t be difficult to replicate the highs of those previous ‘magical’ years he spent in the Celtic Park dugout.

“[I was] clearly disappointed,” Rodgers said.

“My first time here, the story was just magical, but I was under no illusions that was one of my processes coming in I had to think about. Knowing that when I came in the first time how everything was, I pretty much knew it wasn’t going to be like that the second time. But that’s life.

“We have no God-given right to win every single competition. I know people will look for perfection, but it won’t be that. Especially this early on in the process.

“It was really disappointing to lose. I’d say it is very disappointing for 24 hours when you lead. Supporters and everyone else it will hurt for longer. As the leader of the team, and the guy who dictates the mood of the team, of course you have to move on. And that is what we will look to do.

“I know we will get better. I know the process will improve and we push on with it.”

In fairness to Rodgers, his quest to deliver a ninth trophy as Celtic manager before Christmas was hampered by a rather extensive injury list, particularly at centre-back, where he is experiencing the sort of bad fortune that was rarely evident when he was previously in Glasgow.

“That’s what I’ve always said, my story this time is going to be different to the last time I was here,” he said.

“This is a something we need to adapt to now that never really happened in my first time here, but this is what we do.

“It’s the uncertainty that injuries bring, but it also brings opportunity to other players. The guys have trained great this week, so we’ll move forward.”

While acknowledging those injury issues though, Rodgers doesn’t see any value in heads being stuck in the sand over how bad a day at the office it was down in Ayrshire, nor is he looking to latch onto excuses, such as the contentious decision not to award his side a late penalty for a clumsy tackle on Sead Haksabanovic.

“It’s just we weren’t good enough on the day,” he said.

“Kilmarnock’s defensive game was very good. We can talk about the surface, we can talk about injuries, but the first 10 minutes we should have been 2-0 up. Two great chances, two really good moves and if we finish them off you are in a very different place in the game.

“You go to them, and the opponent comes out, and then you have more space. Especially surfaces like that, it is getting the first goal that is so important. So, we didn’t manage to do that and it put us out of the cup and it is a strange feeling.

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“But it just gives me even greater determination to keep improving on what we are doing. I hope over my period of time here we have more highs than lows.”

On top of the emergency repairs he is seeking to carry out to his team in the last week of the transfer window, there is also a bit of housekeeping on Rodgers' agenda when it comes to some of his current star performers, with contract talks ongoing between the club and the likes of Reo Hatate and Liel Abada.

“I think [talks over a new deal for Hatate] have been ongoing from before I came in," he said.

"The club and his representatives have been trying to organise that, and they will continue with that I’m sure.

“Again, [Abada's] agent has spoken with the club, and there’s dialogue at the minute.

“Obviously, the club is in a strong position. The club has done great with a number of players, a lot of players are tied to long-term deals.

“Of course, they want to reward and value the players, and give them the worth that they come to an agreement on.

“I think that’s what they are doing at the minute.”

Hatate is currently among the numerous absentees from the Celtic squad as he nurses a calf injury, but there was at least a little positive news to report on that front, as well as some immediate relief to Rodgers’ stretched resources with the recovery of Alastair Johnston.

“He will be available for the squad Ally, he’s looked good over the last 11 or 12 days,” he said.

“We didn’t involve him on the Astro [at Kilmarnock], but he’s had another good week this week so he will be available, which is really good news for us.

“(Reo) will be back in the international break. It was obviously his calf, but he’s moving more on it more on it now.

“The diagnosis is that he will be fine by the international break.”