They say a week is a long time in politics. They should try being involved in football.

Of all the sub-plots to emerge from Celtic's 5-0 fourth-round Scottish Cup win over Buckie Thistle one particular story took a surprising twist and turn. It was perhaps ironic on a day when Brendan Rodgers decided to rest captain fantastic Callum McGregor- the shining beacon of hope and ray of light for any young Celtic academy graduate in recent times - he introduced youngsters Rocco Vata and Daniel Kelly to the first team fray for the first time this season as both teenagers were handed precious minutes.

In Vata's case, he notched his first career goal for Celtic. So, big up to him for that. His father Rudi would have been ever so proud to see his son bulge the net for his former club. In Kelly's case, it was his senior debut in green and white. So congratulations to him and credit where it's due as it must have been a wonderful moment for all of his family.

READ MORE: Why Rocco Vata won't be the last Celtic kid to quit Paradise

Yet only last week yours truly penned an article on why Vata looked poised to be the next member of the new 'Quality Street Gang' of Celtic youngsters to join the likes of Karamoko Dembele, Barry Hepburn, Liam Morrison, Josh Adam and Ben Doak to quit Paradise for pastures new. However, the weekend saw the waters being muddied certainly in the case of Vata. A prolific goalscorer in the Lowland League, the Republic of Ireland international striker was just not getting a look in with Celtic. Why? Therein lieth the $64,000 question.

Something has gone on behind the scenes concerning Vata. What that issue is may well be the subject of much conjecture and speculation. The player's current deal with Celtic expires in the summer with Italian Serie A side Bologna granted permission to talk to him earlier this month and Serie B outfit Como also watching developments with interest.

Although - judging by Rodgers' comments at the weekend - an olive branch may well have been extended to the player. The Northern Irishman left the striking prodigy with no doubts as to what his future could be if he chose to stay in Glasgow's east. The 50-year-old also hinted that there may well be a new deal on the table and that the recent contract impasse had possibly thawed.

Rodgers though chose his words carefully and laid it all on the line for Vata. Whilst natural talent will only take you so far, Rodgers still values good old-fashioned football traits such as application, attitude, mentality, and professionalism. Rodgers said: "Young players have to earn the right. There’s been a lot of noise around Rocco but any young player has to earn the opportunity. I’ve given many young players opportunities in my career.

"I like Rocco, he has qualities. He is strong, he’s aggressive, he wants to get goals. When he came on he got his goal and he had other opportunities. That (his future) will be up to him. He’s a talent. It depends on what the mentality is with him and his representatives. You get some young players whose representatives will tell you if they are not playing in the first team, starting, they don’t want to stay. You better go then, because you have got to earn the right.

“He is 18, I don’t need players ready at 18 unless they are real, real special talents, but by 20-21, they need to be ready. You can see he has tools and this can be a really good place for him to develop. There’s been chats around that (a new deal) but my focus is purely on the playing aspect. There will be something there for him, I’m sure.”

Celtic Way:

READ MORE: 'It's up to him': Rocco Vata's Celtic future addressed after contract talks

Those quotes prompted Celtic legend Peter Grant to comment further on Vata and voice his concerns. Grant said: "I said at the start of the season that I saw him playing wide and I thought he did well. If you listen to Brendan’s interviews, then you are thinking ‘Uhmm, maybe there isn’t something right off the pitch’.

“We keep saying it. It’s easier to be critical of the manager when he isn’t playing certain players, but then there could be something in the background. There could be anything that we don’t know. It was an interesting interview with Brendan talking about Rocco. He made the point clear. It’s not just down to ability, so maybe there is something that is making him have that wee boil on his back and not enjoying certain parts of his professionalism.”

Now contrast the Vata comments to Rodgers' thoughts on Kelly.

Rodgers said: "I have been really impressed with Daniel Kelly too. He is a young player, he has got good physicality and is naturally left-footed and he has good energy. His attitude is so good and it was nice for him to feel that experience. For those young guys to get a taste of it is great and it is about their mentality and wanting to keep improving."

That's why there may well be credence and merit in Grant's views on Vata. By playing both youngsters on Sunday against Buckie Thistle, Rodgers was giving the duo a glimpse of the future. Their mission should they choose to accept it is to knuckle down and become bona fide first-team stars.

Rodgers is spelling out in no uncertain terms that he can and will improve both Vata and Kelly as Celtic players should they choose to stay with the club. It's Rodgers' forte, it's what he does. The list of players that Rodgers has turned into the finished article is frightening and off the charts. In return, Rodgers wants the duo to display total and utter dedication to their craft and a willingness as well as mentality to want to be the best and keep improving.

In short, the double-A. Attitude and application. It's not too much to ask of an aspiring, young Celtic footballer, is it? Up until now, those qualities may well have been what was lacking with Vata as Grant opined. However, it doesn't appear to be the case at all with Kelly.

Celtic Way:

READ MORE: Celtic hero concerned about Brendan Rodgers' Rocco Vata statement

There is nothing that the Celtic supporters love more than seeing one of their own graduate to the top team. It warms the cockles of the faithful's hearts big time. They are those who frequent Celtic Park on matchdays and still mourn the departed Kieran Tierney. It remains to be seen what the future holds for Vata at Celtic. It certainly looks bright for Kelly whose own deal expires in December 2024.

Now here's a thought. What if Vata and Kelly turn out to be the dynamic duo that bucked the trend of Celtic parting company with their highly-rated youngsters for once? What if both earned the right to gatecrash Rodgers' first team? What if both put pen to paper on extended deals at Parkhead?

The pair could certainly do a lot worse than pledge their futures to Celtic under Rodgers, especially at this current time. As the boss man said: "Celtic is a good place for them to develop." If Vata and Kelly don't believe Rodgers they'd only need to take inspiration from the A-lister whose name was missing from the Celtic starting teamsheet against Buckie Thistle on Sunday. McGregor.

He was rested and sat in the stands on a rare watching brief. He'd earned his rest. That's what years of the double-A gets you. Attitude and application.  Tierney had it. McGregor has got in abundance. Vata and Kelly should take note. That's the way to do it. There is still a chance that one day in the future Vata and Kelly will be lauded and adored by the Celtic supporters just like Tierney and McGregor.

They love their homegrown produce down G40 way. That's why McGregor is Vata and Kelly's role model, if ever there was one.