Sir Alex Ferguson made a career out of it.

It's an old football management trick and it worked wonders for Ferguson at both Aberdeen and Manchester United. Hence the slew of trophies. What is it? It's a siege mentality, of course.

Adopted within a club, it can help foster the belief that the whole world is against you- that everyone wants to see you lose. It's a mind trick played by wily and cunning bosses who want to motivate their players. Successful managers usually highlight all the negatives and turn them into positives and in turn hope that it galvanises their dressing room in the process.

There have been legendary stories of Ferguson dishing out the 'hairdryer treatment and 'flying cups and saucers' smashing against the walls of the Old Trafford changing rooms. He was adept at drilling into his players the notion that everyone was against his team. The opposition, referees, media - you name it - they were all lining up for a pop according to the furious one.

Brendan Rodgers channelled his inner Ferguson on Sunday in the aftermath of Celtic's 2-0 win over St Mirren in Paisley that sent the holders into the last eight of the Scottish Cup. The way he celebrated with the fans congregated behind the goal showed that he more than anyone is up for the Scottish Premiership title and Scottish Cup fight this season. Managers live for these moments in their careers and Rodgers certainly came into his own at the weekend.

READ MORE: Celtic's Rodgers was 'box office' on Viaplay - here's why...

Take this for an example as he spoke about the negative narrative surrounding a side who have eight out of their last nine matches. Rodgers said: "The narrative around our team is that we’re not together and we’re broken but you can’t come and win very comfortably like that if you’re not. When you’re a winning club with a winning mentality … I think they’re trying to gang up on us now!

"When you are successful and this club has been for a long period it doesn’t take much for people to want to bring you down. The narrative has been there for a while. That's the reality of it and we can only concentrate on ourselves. How they are reacting and staying together is very important and whilst there is a lot of noise around we just continue to win football games.

"I think it (the narrative) has been created outside. That's why I say it. I don't expect anything else. We just have to focus on ourselves. When you are at a winning club and you have won consistently for so many years people are quick to jump and bring us down and bring me down. I am here to win and for sure we will have our day and have many days moving forward."

Celtic Way:

It was a warning shot. It was aimed at would-be pretenders to the Scottish Premiership throne as well as those in media circles who had already begun to write to his Celtic team off. The Northern Irishman's message was a simple one. We know everyone wants us to lose but we will get on with the business of winning football matches.

That's what happens when you hire elite-level football managers. They come into their own in these situations. The one thing that Celtic have got going for them in this title run-in is their manager.

A manager who has been there, seen it, done it. A manager who exudes cool and calm and is dignity personified. Over the next few weeks, we will see exactly why Rodgers is the highest-paid manager in the club's history.

You can perhaps trace the moment Rodgers's Celtic team were galvanised. Whilst it falls short of a 97th-minute winner in Dingwall a-la December 2021, it still involved Tony Ralston. It was 'The Brickie' making a crucial sliding challenge at Easter Road that won possession and led to Kyogo winning the last-gasp penalty kick that handed the champions a 2-1 league victory against Hibernian. It could well turn out to be the tackle of the season.

The wild scenes of celebration and pandemonium at the end between the Celtic supporters and players spoke volumes. The title race spun on its axis right there and then as it looked to all intents and purposes that Celtic were about to spill two crucial league points. Earlier that same day a prominent high-street bookmaker had installed Rangers as the title favourites. It all must have been music to Rodgers's ears.

On Sunday, Rodgers fielded a makeshift back four against the Saints with three of his established and regular first-team recognised defenders out injured - Cameron Carter-Vickers, Greg Taylor and Alistair Johnston. That's another reason why he singled out Stephen Welsh, Liam Scales and Ralston for extra praise. He is acutely aware that he is going to have to ask those players to drink from that same well many times before the two last pieces of silverware are handed out in May.

Celtic Way:

Rodgers said: “Our centre-halves did very well. (Stephen) Welsh and (Liam) Scales stood up to it. Tony Ralston was excellent. These are guys who will fight and give you absolutely everything in the game. That’s why I was so proud of them."

READ MORE: Celtic's Rodgers names three players who have stepped up

With these honeyed words, he made sure Welsh, Scales and Ralston knew he registered their contribution to the cause. Last weekend, in the eyes of the manager nobody typified the Celtic cause more than this trio.

The Rodgers checklist would have been as follows:

  • Turning negatives into positives ✅
  • Making his players feel loved and valued âś…
  • Creating a common goal and cause âś…
  • Defending your team publicly âś…
  • Showing the world that you and your team have got the stomach for the fight âś…

The countdown to 'squeaky-bum' time may have already started in earnest. In the aftermath of Sunday's win in Paisley, Rodgers gave a masterclass in siege mentality, all right.

If it is good enough for Sir Alex then it's certainly good enough for Brendan. As the great man himself famously said: "Football, bloody hell..."