Be careful what you wish for. Isn't that what they say?

When Rangers hit the top of the Scottish Premiership table meaningfully for the first time since 2022 on Sunday after defeating St Johnstone 3-0 at McDiarmid Park, panic stations were established. The hotter takes abounding on social media over the weekend was that Rodgers should be dismissed immediately if Celtic were to salvage the wreckage of their title bid this season.

Salvage the wreckage? Sack the manager? First and foremost, it makes no sense to remove Rodgers from office now. Celtic are two points behind Rangers. They are not out of it altogether as some would have you believe. However, based on recent evidence the Celtic supporters have lost faith with Rodgers and the team. Even those who possess blind faith are dwindling in their numbers.

The easy fallback is to say that the Northern Irishman has lost the dressing room. Whatever that football phrase actually means. There is also the added off-field circus of those among the Celtic support who didn't want Rodgers back in the first place. Some are now desperate to be proven right in that opinion. It would be a step too far to say that those same fans would wish their team to fail with Rodgers at the helm. The fact of the matter is that if Rodgers fails, Celtic fail. Be careful what you wish for and all that.

The 51-year-old is not entirely blameless for what has gone on at Celtic this season. Rodgers has bemoaned the lack of quality coming into the club. He has not been backed adequately enough by the board. Celtic brought in quantity not quality. Rodgers is finding out the hard way what it is like to work with sub-standard players at a club that demands impeccably high standards and to win every game.

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Has Rodgers been responsible for every player that has been signed by the club? Is there reason to doubt him on this? At the AGM back in November, Rodgers said: "No player has been pushed onto me. We have a structure and set up and we are planning for the longer term in our signing strategy. I make the final decision on whether we sign a player.

"The big thing for me coming back was the recruitment network. By the time we reach the summer, I hope to have the numbers and quality I want in the squad."

Celtic ended the game on Saturday against Kilmarnock with £8 million worth of defenders not playing. Gustaf Lagerbielke was deemed not worthy of a place in the matchday squad and Polish stopper Maik Nawrocki was on the bench and never made it onto the pitch. The champions finished with a back four that included Tony Ralston, Liam Scales and Alexandro Bernabei. That is the biggest and most damning indictment of the recruitment and Rodgers by his own admission has been part of that.

In a season where Celtic have been without the best central defender at the club, it is inexplicable how £8 million worth of players cannot get a game for a team now playing catch-up to Rangers. A club like Celtic simply cannot afford to get it wrong when they are shelling out £3 and £4 million for players. However, getting it wrong in terms of recruitment has been a speciality of the men from Glasgow's east end since Rodgers took over the helm for a second spell.

The manager clearly doesn't fancy many of the summer signings and on occasion, he has told them so. It is those same players that Rodgers is turning to now and asking them to do him a turn as we reach the business end of the season. The jury is still well and truly out on January's £3 million recruit Nicolas Kuhn. The optics on that don't look too good at this moment in time either. It is fair to say that both on and off the park, Celtic are a dysfunctional unit.

The Kilmarnock display on Saturday was one of a long line of matches this season where Celtic seemed bereft of leadership, quality and above all else identity. There is a lack of creativity in the Celtic process whenever they take to the field. The talismanic Kyogo Furuhashi has scored just 13 goals this season in all competitions. Read into that statistic what you will. That is on the manager - nobody else. From the outset of this season, Rodgers has shown a stubborn streak in his narrative and the messages that he has been putting out there have been mixed at best.

However, his teams have been far too predictable and easy to play against. St Johnstone, Hibs, Motherwell, Kilmarnock, Hearts and Aberdeen have all plundered points from Celtic. Four of those sides have managed that feat at Celtic Park. Yet, the biggest irony in all of this is that when Rangers lost 3-1 to Aberdeen back in September which spelt the end for Michael Beale's short-lived managerial reign at Ibrox, as Celtic surged seven points clear in the title race.

Rangers have not been the problem for Rodgers or Celtic this season - far from it. On the plus side, two Glasgow derbies have yielded two victories with Rodgers masterminding both with a makeshift team at his disposal in both encounters. It's galling to think that Celtic could conceivably not lose any of the four Premiership derby encounters this season and still lose the Scottish Premiership title. That would be 'The Celtic Way'.

It has been Rangers' ability to take care of all of the rest since Clement's arrival in Govan that has kept them alive in the Premiership title race. It has been Celtic's failure to do likewise that has granted Rangers their title shot and helped serve it up on the proverbial silver platter.

Amazingly this campaign could well be a repeat of the 1997/98 season when Walter Smith's Rangers won three of the five Glasgow derbies, lost one, drew one and still unbelievably blew the 10. The lion's share of Glasgow derby victories could rest with Celtic this season but Philippe Clement's men could waltz away with a treble. That's a sobering thought for every Celtic supporter.

Celtic Way:

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Yet Celtic's biggest asset in the title run-in is their manager. The faithful might not want to admit that but it is the only silver lining the club has as the dark storm clouds begin to gather. Rodgers knows how to win. He knows how to win when it matters. He knows how to win against Rangers. Although based on their current form, you wouldn't give a snowball's chance in hell for Celtic's chances of going to Ibrox and winning in March. Rodgers is the one man who will be steadfast in his belief that his team can pull it off.

The Celtic fans can like him or loathe him but Rodgers is a winner. He was invincible in his first spell as Celtic boss, he guided Liverpool to within an ace of the English Premier League title. He has won the FA Cup and Charity Shield with Leicester City and took the Foxes into Europe courtesy of two top-five finishes in the English Premier League.

Sack the manager? Any new manager coming into the club would almost certainly be a downgrade on Rodgers in terms of his managerial CV and achievements in the game. "For those who I need to convince, I will see you here in May..." The words of Rodgers on the day he was unveiled as the Celtic boss for a second time back in June. Those words will either come back to haunt Rodgers or be cause for wonderful scenes of celebration down Glasgow's east end.

It's just that Rodgers and his players have a lot of convincing to do over the next 12 games. If Rodgers and his team fail to deliver then he will most definitely see the Celtic faithful in May but certainly not for the reasons he thought last summer. Momentum is with Rangers. The odds are all stacked against Rodgers and Celtic making it three-in-a-row.

Let's end with the positives for Celtic then shall we, although they are few and far between. Currently, there are 12 games to go and the champions trail Rangers by just two points in the race for the flag, with two Glasgow derbies still to play. The Scottish Premiership title destiny is still conceivably in the hands of the men and green and white.

Rodgers and his team have 12 games upon which to turn the whole Premiership title 'narrative' around. This league isn't over... yet. Not by a long way. Rodgers and Celtic can still rescue the situation.

Be careful what you wish for. Anybody daring to write Rodgers the manager off should do so at their peril.