Celtic dropped points in the league for the second time this season after being held to a goalless draw by Hibernian at Easter Road on Saturday.

Manager Brendan Rodgers made just one change to the side that earned a well-deserved 2-2 draw with La Liga giants Atletico Madrid in the Champions League last Wednesday as Paulo Bernardo was handed his first start, replacing the injured Reo Hatate. The on-loan Benfica midfielder became the seventh of the nine summer signings to make their full competitive debut for the club this season.

Rodgers has certainly chosen to use the new recruits sparsely in the opening months of the season, with five of those nine (Maik Nawrocki, Gustaf Lagerbielke, Marco Tilio, Odin Thiago Holm and Kwon Hyeok-kyu) failing to make the matchday squad for the trip to the capital.  

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Nat Phillips and Yang Hyun-jun did make the bench but were unused and a case could well be made that of the two that did start - Bernardo and Honduran winger Luis Palma - may well not be first-picks when Hatate and Liel Abada - not expected to be back until closer to the end of the year - return to full fitness. Rodgers was also somewhat revealing about the squad overall when asked how happy he was with his options from the bench on Saturday.

He said: “Over time, every coach or manager would like to strengthen their squad. We’ve got what we’ve got and over time the players have shown their qualities in this opening period of the season. We’re not entitled to win every game we want to. Today we didn’t manage it. It’s not a day to point the finger at the bench or anyone else. The squad will get stronger hopefully in the time I’m here but today we just didn’t do enough.”

The most intriguing part is ‘we’ve got what we’ve got’. For a club that brought in nine players over the summer, this is hardly a ringing endorsement of the business that was done. A closer look at just how sparingly Rodgers has used the summer signings is telling.  

Of those brought in, excluding Tomoki Iwata, whose January loan move was made permanent, Swedish central defender Gustaf Lagerbielke has clocked the most minutes. Most of those came when Celtic were hit by a raft of injuries at centre-back, with the signing from Elfsborg subsequently failing to make a Premiership matchday squad since the game at Motherwell on 30 September.

Polish defender Maik Nawrocki has also failed to force his way back into the picture at centre-back. The £4.3m buy from Legia Warsaw started the first two league games and then the League Cup game at Kilmarnock before picking up an injury. Nawrocki is reported to have been back in full training in the last few weeks but is yet to return to a matchday squad.

Nat Phillips, brought in as cover after the injuries to Nawrocki and clear first-choice centre-back Cameron Carter-Vickers in the opening weeks, has also only managed two starts since his arrival on loan from Liverpool in the last week of the transfer window.

Much of the lack of opportunities for the three centre-backs brought in over the summer has of course been down to the unexpected emergence of Liam Scales. Close to the exit door, the Irishman has defied expectations to make himself first-choice alongside Carter-Vickers.

The potential issue in this area of the team is that Phillips - currently only on loan until January - appears to be the first backup in this position at the moment, not one of the two permanent signings in Lagerbielke or Nawrocki. Admittedly, it may be that Rodgers is simply waiting for the right time to reintroduce the latter but again this might be something of a concern.

Named in the starting eleven in five of Celtic’s 14 competitive matches this season, Luis Palma has racked up the second-most starts, including the last four games in a row.

With three goals and one assist in eight appearances, Palma has certainly made a productive enough impact, arguably the most significant of all nine. Quiet on Saturday in Leith, overall, he has been a steady enough addition. He has certainly sustained a more significant role in the team than the other two wingers brought in over the summer as the club sought to fill the void left by Portuguese sensation Jota.

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21-year-old South Korean Yang has managed the third-most minutes but has found opportunities hard to come by of late, something that was very clear on Saturday. With Rodgers searching for a creative spark to break down a resolute Hibs defence, he turned to veteran James Forrest and the lesser-seen Mikey Johnston rather than the former Gangwon man.

Former Melbourne City attacker Marco Tilio is another wide player who has failed to make an impact since signing on at Celtic Park. Arriving with an injury, Tilio is reported to have been training for several weeks now but is yet to make a matchday squad with Rodgers recently suggesting he is struggling to adapt to the intensity of the football expected of a Celtic first-team player.

The other player not to feature at all in a competitive fixture so far is defensive midfielder Kwon. Signed at the same time as his countryman Yang, Kwon did feature in pre-season. However, a nightmarish 45-minute appearance in the final friendly against Athletic Bilbao at Celtic Park seems to have cost the signing from K League 2 side Busan IPark, and he has only made four of the fourteen matchday squads this season.

Young Norwegian midfielder Odin Thiago Holm, the first signing of the summer, is another who appears to have a bit of work to do if he is to make a significant impact in his first season in green and white.

After some encouraging cameos in the first few weeks, Holm was handed his one start in the League Cup defeat at Rugby Park. His naive red card after then coming on in Rotterdam in the Champions League opener after Celtic had already been reduced to ten men seems to have further dented his opportunities. Included in the Golden Boy list for 2023, it is likely the highly rated Holm will get his opportunity again later in the season. Again, though, he is another who has failed to make the squad for the last few matches.

Overall, as could be seen in the graphs, none of the nine signings have managed to play more than half of all minutes available, with Rodgers picking just one new signing in six of the 10 league games and only three on one occasion, the League Cup loss at Kilmarnock. It is always unlikely, when you bring in as many as nine new players in one window, that all of them will have an immediate impact.

That is especially true with the profile of players often being targeted in the younger, ‘project’ category, which is of course what is required for Celtic’s model of buying players at a lower price, developing them and then selling for profit. Rodgers has also spoken of players taking time to adapt to the intensity of life as a Celtic player, Tilio being the case in point here.

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Ultimately, though, despite some suffering injuries and other off-field factors that should be considered, such as settling into a new country etc., the impact of the summer’s business on the squad, let alone the starting eleven, has not exactly been what would have been expected. This has been no clearer than on Saturday. When Rodgers called on his bench after a draining midweek performance in Europe a few days earlier he relied on more familiar names, having already left many of those nine signings out of the squad altogether.  

There is every chance a number of these signings will still go on to play big roles at Celtic in the future. Still, Rodgers consistently talked about prioritising quality over quantity when asked about transfer business over the summer.

The Celtic manager has done remarkably well to negotiate the first ten league games, which has included six away ties to venues such as Pittodrie, Ibrox, Tynecastle and Easter Road, coming out the other side with eight wins and two draws with some of those summer signings playing their part in some of those results at various points.

However, If this season’s ambitions are to remain on track then the club may well have to move the needle back towards that quality the manager has highlighted when it comes to the upcoming January transfer window.