Everything Brendan Rodgers said to the media, ahead of Celtic's trip to Tynecastle to face Hearts this Sunday...

Well done on your Manager of the Month award, how does it feel?

Listen, it is a great testament to how the players were and how they have done and performed. It is also a reward for the staff and the team. I am just a figurehead but there is lots of work going on behind the scenes and it is a congratulations to everybody.

Domestically it was a perfect spell between the last two international breaks. How confident are you that you can kick on now? What is the aim over the next five or six matches?

We've got seven games in total in 21 days for a start. There is a lot of work that is going to go into that period. It is a really exciting run of games. We don't assume that coming off the back of a run where we did really well that we will just continue that. It is hard work. It is a relentless mentality every single day. We always want to take that intensity into the game. That's our aim for the weekend.

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In terms of injuries, how is everyone looking? Maik Nawrocki and Daizen Maeda, who pulled out of the Japan squad, is he available this weekend?

Daizen is okay. He just had a slight knock after the Kilmarnock game. With it being friendlies there was communication between the two medical teams and he didn't have to travel. He was able to have some treatment for a few days, but he was able to train for over a week now and he is absolutely fine. Maik is back in now and this is him 10 days or so into his training. He is getting sharper every day and he is finding his football fitness. So, that is really good news. 

Will Maik be in the squad at the weekend?

We will have a look at that. We have still to finalise the squad, but the most important thing is that he is back training and available.

In terms of everybody else, Stephen Welsh and Liel Abada are they still out at the moment?

Yeah, Stephen is probably another two weeks away from training with the team. He's out on the field working with the rehabilitation team and he is doing very well. Liel is still a little bit of time away and he's been earmarked to come back in December. He is still on course for that.

What are you expecting from the game this weekend?

It is always a tough game. Every one of them is tough. In the early part of the season, we have been to some tough places and got some really good results. We know we have to work hard and play with a quality and don't assume that we will turn up and win. We will have to work really hard and play with the quality and speed that we can do and hopefully get the result.

Does it change the dynamic that there is only going to be a small pocket of Celtic fans at Tynecastle as does the Ibrox experience stand you in good stead for that?

Any team playing away from home, it is always nice to have a fairly large group of your supporters there to give you that backing but if they are not there we can't use that as an excuse. We have shown already with no supporters that we can get big results. We'll be very much together. We are hoping to give the 500-odd fans that will be there a good day.

The allocation seems to have sparked a great debate within the league and there is talk of bringing in a rule that gives you a minimum percentage. Do you think that might be a good idea to help the atmosphere and help Scottish football sell itself given that rivalry is a big factor of it?

I think so. Every club at this moment has every right to issue the tickets the way they see fit to away supporters. Until something is sorted out, then Hearts are more than willing to do that. Of course, as the Celtic manager, I would love to see more fans in there as they come from all over the place to follow their team. Hopefully, we can standardise a certain percentage for away supporters and that will allow all the supporters of their clubs to go and watch their teams. I think the idea around it and it was the same when I was here the first team around when the grounds weren't full if there was a greater away allocation then it would allow the stadium to be filled. It would also give money and resources to the away team then you would like to be able to do that. I also understand it from a football perspective why you wouldn't want to have so many away supporters in. Hopefully, the federation can standardise a number and then we will all know where we stand.

Can I ask you about Liel (Abada) as there has been a lot of talk about pressure being on him. Some pundits back in Israel have told him what he should do in response to the banner that was up at the last game. Have you had a chat with him to make sure he is all right and is it a difficult situation?

I went for a meal with Liel last week just to see what he was thinking and where he was at. I think he's fine. Naturally, he's saddened like us all really by what is happening. It is a really divisive subject in terms of what is happening. In terms of Liel, he knows he has the support of every true Celtic supporter and every person here at the club is backing him and we are with him. We feel for those people who are really close to him and it is hard for a father to watch what is going on when you see some of those images. If you are so close to it and from his country then it is even harder. He is okay. He is just concentrating on getting himself fit and that is all he is concerned with.

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He is still only a young man. Is that a difficult situation for him to deal with?

That's the whole idea of taking him out and having a bite to eat just to see where he is at and where he is. You forget that these guys are young men. Yes, they are football players but they are also 21 years of age and in a foreign country. He has come over and learned the language and he has done great for Celtic and we are here to help him and support him.

Sunday marks the first full quarter of the season, how do you rate the season domestically so far?

Domestically in terms of results, it's been pretty good. We have won seven out of eight and it is just the St Johnstone game at home which we should have won. The performance is gradually getting better as we go through the season and we will work more together. The only blemish has been the cup game against Kilmarnock, which I was bitterly disappointed with, but with that comes learning and progress. Throughout everything that has been thrown at us with injuries and stuff the players have come through it really well. We are sat in a good place very early on but it is early. There is a lot of work to do.

One of those players who had done really well is Liam Scales and he made his international debut in midweek for the Republic of Ireland. How pleased are you for him?

I am absolutely delighted for Liam. It is a great story. Several weeks ago he was wondering if he was going to be here. As he sits in here today he is playing in the Champions League and he is a full international. I know he is very determined to keep it going. That's how football can work sometimes. It is such an up-and-down career. You think you're in one place, one moment and the next you get an opportunity. Of course, you have to take it and he has taken it with both hands. I'm really pleased for him. He knows he has to continue to work hard and keep learning and developing. He's a clever guy, he knows he has done well. In order to now stay in the team and keep working he has to keep improving.

Can Liam be an example of a player who comes into the team and performs so well that they can then keep the jersey - regardless of the injured players coming back from injury - that you can make that position yours?

He can do, yes. Modern football has changed in terms of playing games. We play seven matches in 21 days and I can tell you now it won't be the same team in all of the games. What you can do is give yourself a great opportunity to play as often as you can.

Steve Clarke has taken Scotland to two successive EUROs. A man you’ve known for a long time, how thrilled are you for him and what he’s done?

Yeah, I was delighted. I sent him a message when it happened. I’m really pleased for Steve and his staff and of course the players and the nation. It’s absolutely brilliant for Scotland. They’ve got a real group of players that are really talented. When I see them play, they play like a club side, and Steve’s done brilliant to pull them all together. You now have that connection between the team and the supporters and everyone, so it’s really upbeat for the country and I’m delighted for them. They’ve got a couple of games to go, and they’ll want to finish strong and finish well, but I’m really pleased for him. He looks really happy to be leading his country, Steve, and I’m delighted for him.

Have you noticed if Callum McGregor and Greg Taylor have come back with a bit of spring in their step after qualification?

Yeah, I spoke to them this morning, so yeah really pleased. Greg gets a run-out and Callum gets a rest, which is ideal. It’s very positive for the team and the country.

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Matt O’Riley got a Denmark call-up. how pleased are you with him?

I’m very pleased. Working with him closely now, I can see the real qualities that he has and I can see the real confidence he’s playing with. I think he was very deserving of his call-up, and hopefully, in the coming years, he can go on and make his international debut whilst performing well here for Celtic. He’s had a great start to this season, Matt, and I know he’s very determined to consistently keep it going.

Another player on the fringes is Mikey Johnston, who scored for Ireland in the international break. He said you sent him a text. What’s his future looking like at the club?

For me, the biggest thing with Mikey was just about being fit. At the end of the window, there was maybe a scramble with thinking about going out on loan. He was coming off of a really nasty back problem, where he hadn’t trained. For me, between the end of the window and January, he had to prove that he could stay fit and stay robust, and then build up his football fitness. Then, we’ll see if we could get some game-time because he’s a talented player. Thankfully, he’s been able to do that. He’s gone away with the international team and got some minutes, which is great. We’ll see, between now and January, if he gets that game-time, but he gets the chance to prove it every day in training. He looks strong, and I’m hopeful that he may get some game time.

Another player on the fringes is Yuki Kobayashi. Is he fit, and if so is he someone you’re looking to give more game-time to? Or will you send him out on loan?

I’ve only got 11 players. The squad is too big, and that’s the reality of it, so I can’t fit in all the players, even into a match-day squad. He’s someone that’s really professional. I think in fairness to Yuki, he would have gone out on loan before the end of the window, but he just got injured before he went out. He’s training very well, it’s not that he’s doing anything wrong. His attitude has been fantastic, working hard, but we only have a limited number of centre-halves that we can play.

Just on Luis Palma as well, he’s seemed to bounce back from that disallowed goal against Lazio. He’s scored against Kilmarnock, and did well for Honduras on international duty. He’s something that’s continuing to come to the fore, how pleased are you with that?

Very pleased. I never expect too much when players first come in. If they can come in and settle in straight away, then brilliant, but coming into this intensity and this level can be a challenge. You can see as he’s coming off the bench or starting games he’s starting to settle in well. He scored a really good goal and made two great passes in the game that could have set up goals. He’s a really gifted technical player and I expect his physicality to get better and better as he adapts to the intensity of the British game.

Just on Tynecastle, you know it’s going to be a tough game, but you’ve got some fond memories there. Your first ever league win at Celtic, then you won the league that season winning 5-0 there. Are you looking forward to getting back?

Aye, it’s brilliant. Listen, they’re all tough games up here. There’s never an easy game. You need to earn the right, and that’ll be the same at the weekend. We’re entering into a run of games now, which is really exciting. Tynecastle is the first of those. We’ll prepare for a tough game but we’ll look to work how we have been and look to play with our intensity and our work-rate, then hopefully our quality can come through.

I’m just going to ask about Marco Tilio. We’ve not seen him yet this season, as he had the injury before he came. How is he doing and how is he looking?

Yeah, it’s just time. I think he will admit it himself, it’s been a really hard transition for him. The intensity of the game is totally different for him to what he’s been used to. It’s been a challenge for him in training. It’s always difficult when you’re a new player coming into your club, and then you end up being injured for virtually all of pre-season and into September. He’s starting to find his feet in the last three to four weeks. It’s going to take him more time. I’m not in any big rush for Marco, I think he’ll bring himself to the team as quickly as he can produce in training and over his time here. He’s adapting, but it’s taking a wee bit longer for him, purely because of the intensity of the games, it’s totally different to where he’s come from.

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You mentioned yesterday that you were away over the international break. What goes on when you’re not here, what goes on that you have to deal with when you’re away that can affect your time off?

When I’m not here, it’s an opportunity for other coaches to lead. We obviously have a smaller group of players here. I’ll still have a handle on all things when I’m away. I think one of the big things for a manager is you need to have resilience in this game. In order to have resilience, you need to manage that, and sometimes that’s coming away from the pressure and the stress of it all, and having a clear head to think. I’ve always found that very important as a manager. There’s a small group of players that are here, they get the chance to train, and then I come back in and pick it up from there. It’s like when the schoolteacher wasn’t there in class, sometimes it was great when he wasn’t there, you could relax a wee bit! Then when he came back in you were maybe gutted!

When you’re stepping away and you spoke about getting a clear head, is the mental factor a big part for you in terms of success?

It’s massive. I think what you learn with experience, and especially if you ever have tough moments, like the challenging start for us. But going away and being able to reflect allows you to tap back into your knowledge again, to have patience and composure and poise is very important as a manager. There’s times where you need to be harsh, but it’s important to have that composure. Being able to go away and have that period to think for a few days is very important, to take yourself out of the stress of it all. The stress never really disappears, it’s just at different levels, so when you go away you’re still thinking about it but you can think clearer. That’s something I think is very important for any leadership role. There’s so much to contend with now as a manager, psychologically, but it’s still the best job in the world.