Everything Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers said to Sky Sports ahead of his side's trip to Rugby Park this weekend...

What has changed since the last two sides met at Rugby Park?

I think we were still finding our feet back then. Mentally and physically we're in a good place. The team has good organisation and structure and the players are developing well.

That performance and result asked questions of the group on the day. How pleased have you been with the response since then, and what you’ve got from this group?

There’s been a number of changes so it was always going to take a little bit of time when you’re coming into a club of this size with expectations. They have done very well and have stood up in a lot of the games, especially big important games. The Champions League has been a challenge for us naturally but it it always will be. Domestically the team have been very good.

Kilmarnock have been very good at home. What are the challenges of facing them and facing Derek McInnes, who you’ve come up against a number of times?

Derek's teams are always organised and will work very hard. They get the ball up early into wide areas and cross, so you’ve got to defend your box well. They’ve got good players that can hurt you and he’s established them really well there. From getting promoted to looking like a top six team, so it’s going to be a challenge for us.

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You used your squad to good effect in midweek. One of the players you turned to was Mikey Johnston and you said after the game he needed to do more to start games. What do you want to see from him moving forward to show you he can be a regular starter?

I had a good conversation with Mikey today because he’s not a young player anymore. He’s 24 years of age and he’s had his issues around his physicality which gets in the way but there’s no doubting his talent and we want to do everything we possibly can to allow him to express that talent. He’s a player that has come through the system here and a player that is arguably the most talented player that’s ever come out of this system here. I will say that, having seen a lot of the young players here. He really wants to go and establish himself here as a top-class player at Celtic. He knows that he has to do a little bit more.

That’s high praise indeed. What is it about him that encourages you, that you could unlock?

If you look at his qualities, I think technically he’s got elite-level technique. He’s very good on one-on-one situations and can eliminate people outside and inside. He can score goals, and has been able to do so since he was 18 years old when I was here the first time. He has those tools, and he’s got stronger with it. It’s always been with Mikey his body and getting that consistency. He’s had that in training and he’s trained a lot over the last three to four months and building his body up. He’s been very good in training and made an impact coming into games. We hope he can make that next step and when he plays from the start he can just be free and enjoy showing his talent.

You spoke recently about Gustaf Lagerbielke and Maik Nawrocki and the reasons why they have not been involved in squads of late. You said you wanted to see more from them in training and personality. What's their reaction been like?

The players have been great. The two guys can't do much more, but you can only play two centre-halves in a game unless you want to play with all of your back four as centre-halves which we don't tend to do. The guys that have been in there have got the shirt and Nathaniel (Nat Phillips) is a guy who has come in there and covered for them. Both of these guys attitudes have been very good. They are just training away and that is all you can do. You can only work hard in training and then the manager picks the team.

There is interest in Harry Kewell from Japan. How far down the road is that now?

I have spoken to Harry on it - after the game the other night - I am not sure how far down the road it is. He is still very much working here but there is a level of interest for him which doesn't surprise me because he is a talented guy. We will see what evolves from that in the next few days.

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Is it one where you would not stand in his way if he wanted to pursue his ambitions and go back into management?

He has already managed before so it is not as if it is new to him. He has had a taste of it so he will understand what that's like. I am always one for saying to staff members if they ever want to go and broaden their horizons and do the very best for themselves and their family then I am very encouraging of that. It is also a sign that you have talented people. When you have talented people other clubs will want them. Harry is a talent like all the other guys we have here and we'll wait and see how that develops.

How is your squad looking this weekend?

They are in a good place. We are just checking on one or two. Cameron Carter-Vickers came off and we will just see how he is. Apart from that, we have no one new who will come into the squad.