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"I think it’s always been about quality, I’ve said that before. The team needs matchwinners, it needs quality. That’s something hopefully we can do." 

There are ten days to go in the summer transfer window. It is shaping up to be massive for Celtic and Brendan Rodgers. The 50-year-old's 100 per cent trophy-win ratio from his first spell bit the dust at Kilmarnock as his side failed to reach the League Cup quarter-finals for the first time since 2020.

Trebles are all fine and well but Rodgers didn't come back to Celtic to win the Viaplay Cup - that much is certain. There was even talk of, for want of a better expression, a '£30 million war chest' to spend on players. 

Most Celtic supporters greeted that revelation with the proverbial pinch of salt. Although if you canvassed the fans right now the majority would likely tell you that the summer transfer window has been underwhelming. "The money is there" is the cry of every Celtic supporter, especially when they raked in £25 million for the sale of Jota. Rodgers - as he has been prone to in press conferences lately - allowed the club's fans another entry into the inner sanctum when he explained the thinking behind the recruitment process and his role in it all ahead of the Kilmarnock game.

"It's pretty simple in terms of how it works," he said. "Ultimately, I will develop and coach the players that the club provide me, and the process of the club providing me with the players is we have a great network of scouts headed up by Mark (Lawwell), who, as I've said before, has done a fantastic job within the model of the club and bringing the players in that fit in with the club, which allows the club to be sustainable and successful at the same time. 

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"So, they have a pipeline of players there that all will fit in, but then it's about picking the profile that fits us best, and of course, I play a part in that. But they do a lot of great work, they watch players over a number of months so that they have various players for each position.

"So, whenever we do lose one ‚Äď as you see with Gustaf (Lagebielke) ‚Äď then there's a replacement to come in. It‚Äôs not always straightforward ‚Äď it always takes time - but like I say a lot of great work goes on and ultimately, I will coach and develop the players that I am provided, and of course, I, have a part in that. The club is run very, very well, it's very sustainable and that‚Äôs what's given it that sustainability and success over a number of years and it's my responsibility to adhere to that."

Rodgers' critics lined up to label him a "yes man". That has never been true. Exhibit A; how it all ended with the word "Terminado" the first time around. Back then, Rodgers hinted that players were being foisted on him against his will and were not being signed with his consent. 

Why once again then did he allude to the fact that he may be willing to work off transfer target lists of players handed to him by Mark Lawwell? It was all very puzzling. The money is most definitely there. The meek surrender of the League Cup at Rugby Park only served to illustrate that Celtic need new blood to arrive over the next nine days.

Supporters will tell you that the club badly needs another goalkeeper, a left-back, a midfield enforcer and another striker. They also haven't replaced Jota with anything near the quality that he provided in terms of double-digits when it comes to entries in the goals and assists columns.

That much is self-evident. However, fans would possibly take issue with Rodgers' use of the word "match winners", in the aftermath of the loss in Ayrshire. Celtic is a team loaded with match-winners. Of the team that took to the Rugby Park field on Sunday eight of them were double winners two seasons ago and world record treble winners in the last campaign. Only Maik Nawrocki, Lagerbielke and Odin Thiago Holm were new recruits from what had previously been the slick, well-oiled machine under Ange Postecoglou.

If it is one thing that this Celtic team knew how to do it was win. So, what happened at Rugby Park? How could a team of serial winners not possess the gumption to beat Kilmarnock? Celtic never reached the levels required to succeed, said the manager and skipper Callum McGregor.

Three games into a new campaign and having already been turfed out of a cup competition, there are supporters getting angry about the level of performance since the season started in earnest. You have to earn the right to win every football match. Celtic didn't earn the right in Ayrshire and inexplicably were beaten by a hungrier team.

It is too early in the season to hit panic buttons or for alarm bells to be ringing. Rodgers' team simply just weren't at the races and got what they deserved. Wake-up calls, a reality check, a bloody nose call it what you will. Celtic will simply need to get better.

Only the manager and his players have the answers as to why they were so abject and abysmal, which brings us back to the remaining nine days of the window. Rodgers made clear at full-time, saying: "Hopefully, between now and the end of the window the squad will be improved. Clearly, the model of the club is to bring the players in at a younger age and develop them and improve them but we are not against bringing in someone at 26 or 27 if they can improve the squad."

READ MORE: Celtic's Callum McGregor says side is at a 'crossroads'

Daniel Podence or Kieran Tierney, anyone? Of course, one defeat does not a disastrous season make. The murmurs of discontent voiced at Rugby Park would reach a crescendo if Celtic were to be turned over by Rangers in the first derby of the season on September 3. That's why Rodgers will have to play more than his part over the next nine days. He is going to have to get down and dirty and really go to work in the recruitment of new players in the remaining days of the August window. He needs to be hands-on in this matter. 

He needs to get the quality players into the club that HE wants. Celtic's very season, both domestically and in Europe, could very well hinge on it.