Everything Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers said to the media, ahead of Sunday's game against St Johnstone...

Brendan, not a question we normally start off with but how was the Pope? How was the visit to the Vatican?

It was a real privilege for us all to have the invitation to go there. It was a really humbling experience and it felt like a life achievement to meet him. It was so nice. I think everyone that came out of the room that morning felt really privileged and really honoured.

When you look back on the game, what were your reflections on the match after a couple of days?

Disappointed with the result of course. Our performance level wasn’t at the level we would have expected but we were still in the game going into the last 10 minutes. We unfortunately gave away two disappointing goals. I thought going into the last 20 minutes we were the team on the ascendency and looked like we could cause them a problem which would have been a really good away performance. Sadly for us, it didn’t work out that way. 

Speaking to Alistair Johnston and there was a quiet confidence within him that there is that progression and they are as a squad very close to where you want to be. Do you share that reflection?

Yeah, I still think there are ways for us to go. If you look currently now, the players we're missing are dynamic players that give that dynamism to the team. It’s something during my time here that I want to develop even more. To be a team that has that power and unpredictability as well as the creativity. That’s something that will be done over time but in the meantime, I think we’ve shown in that level - 11v11 - that we can compete and in some games, we’ve played to a really high level. It’s about consistency and quality at the level and that’s something that we would need to improve if we’re going to improve our European record 

You mentioned the need for that quality after the match. I suppose there are one or two grumblings within the fan base on why that quality was not added in the summer considering the number you brought in. How would you react to that?

Supporters have every right to ask and demand the highest level of expectations and that’s what we demand here. I think there was an anticipation in the summer that a number of players were going to move on so replacement players were brought in. That didn’t happen and we ended up with a bigger squad than what we anticipated. There’s no doubt going forward now that the squad will come down in number and we need to add quality. There’s no dressing it up, the group lost real quality players in the summer so that’s something over the coming windows that we will look to improve on.

Is there confidence from yourself when you look at the scouting network already in place, the money that was talked about at the AGM and the strong financial position of the club? Is there that confidence that those quality players will be added soon?

If that’s the ambition of the club then of course that will happen. I think that the club has been so well run for so many years and from a domestic perspective that’s been highlighted in terms of what the club has achieved. The next step is the European side and that’s why I came back, to hopefully be able to fulfil that in my time here.

At the end of the window, you said that you would have liked to have added one or two more players. Coming to the end of this Champions League campaign, has that changed your mind at all?

I felt when I came here in the summer that with the squad that was already in place from last season that we probably needed four players, and by that I meant four quality players to add to the squad. How the game works, you lose players and there were players that were earmarked to come in prior to me coming here. That’s absolutely fine, they’re no problem as we’ve got young talents here that will develop and grow and that’s the model of the club. To continue to improve and grow then you need to have players that are established because they help bring those players on. I’m very very confident that we can do that over the coming windows. Once we get some of our players back like Daizen Maeda, and Liel Abada, who are very important players for us. Reo Hatate when he comes back in January will be like a new signing for us and he’ll be great. There is no doubt that we have to add extra quality. We don’t need quantity of players, you need quality and that’s how you improve.

Have you had these discussions with the people that make these transfer decisions? Do you see it more as a January topic or in the summer at the end of the season?

It's ongoing. My sole focus at the moment and priority is the players that we have and maximising what they are bringing to the game. So far this season we have not had a settled team or squad. Through the injuries the players have performed domestically very well and in Europe we have had some very good moments. The beauty and excitement for me is that I know it will get better and it will improve and that's what I look forward to. It doesn't necessarily all have to be in January because the right player might not be available. It might be the summer but certainly over my time here we will want to improve the depth and the quality of the team.

The Champions League format changes next season - four home and away games - Chris (McKay) was speaking about the monetary value of getting into that competition - how different will that make your chances of qualification, player growth or general competitiveness now that it has changed into the Swiss format?

It think it adds in every way from a football perspective. It adds opportunity for us if we are playing in that competition. It can help improve us from a football level but from a financial level too as it means more games. As always you have to get there. You have to do the job and that's our only focus.

You said it's harder to sign established players in January because teams might not want to let their players go mid-season. Will fans have to temper their expectations going into the window?

Fans have every right as they want their team to be the very best they can be. If there is an opportunity to improve it in the January transfer window then they will always like us to do that. Our ambitions are the same as the manager of the club we always want to progress. It is a club that is very forward-thinking and we are always looking to improve. Any way we can do that I am sure the club will give us every chance to improve the team.

You said the squad will reduce in numbers are there players accepting of the fact that they will need to move on to get the game time that they require or is that a process?

It is a process. It's only natural. Every player at this moment in time won't feel that they are being pushed out as they are all involved. They work hard in training. They make sacrifices in training because they know if they are not playing they may get the chance to come in and also when January comes and there is an opportunity for them then they have to be physically ready and fit to take that.

The spirit and everything in the team is very good but of course there are a lot of players who are far away from the first team and it can be difficult. I haven't seen anything in terms of attitude as their attitude and commitment is first class.

How important is it to get back to winning ways at the weekend?

Of course. The demand is to win every game. It was not a great result for us. We could have and should have won the game. We could have created more and could have played with more tempo and more speed. We have had a few good days training and we prepared well for St Johnstone. Craig (Levein) has gone in there and used his experience and got them organised. They will defend deep with numbers and we have to have the speed and tempo and the quality in order to break through that.

Are you expecting anybody to come back?

I don't think there's anybody that has been out who will be available for the weekend. There is no further injuries.

Will you enjoy coming up against Craig (Levein)?

He has had a great career. He has been on the media side lately. He's got itchy feet and came back in. He's a manager of experience and he has outstanding qualities. He has gone in and settled them down an got them structured and playing to a shape that makes them difficult to beat.