It’s one of the oldest tricks in the coaching manual but one which can be extremely effective when used correctly.
When you feel that you’re being attacked from all angles – whether completely true or not – then adopting this approach can be one of the smartest ways to quickly turn a perceived negative into a positive.
The ultimate backs against the wall tactic!
I’m talking of course about a siege mentality.
And it looks like Brendan Rodgers has dusted off the old manual and embraced one of the classics as he tries to engineer Celtic out of their mid-season difficulties.
I say difficulties, though many teams would bite your hand off for a run of results which has seen Celtic win eight and draw one of their last nine games.
Results at times however don’t tell the full story and there’s no doubt that the three performances that preceded the Scottish Cup win over St Mirren – against Ross County, Aberdeen & Hibs – couldn’t be described as vintage by any stretch.
Whatever some fans think of Brendan Rodgers he doesn’t lack intelligence and he knows that several displays this season haven’t met the high standards that he and previous managers have set at the club.
Speaking after the win in Paisley he said,
“For us it’s just about keeping that calmness. We know we haven’t been consistently playing to the level, but we’ll get there.
I can’t complain about the players, the guys coming in and adapting, and they’ve given us absolutely everything.”
Some recent comments made by the manager about the quality of the current squad have raised some eyebrows.
However, it’s clear that with the January window well and truly a thing of the past he now wants to close ranks around his group and to pull everyone together for the battle that lays ahead between now and May.
“Obviously the narrative around team is that we’re not together, but you can’t come and win fairly comfortably like that if you’re not.
That was the message to the players. 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 message is abundantly clear.
It’s us v them.
And Brendan Rodgers is fully behind his players as they look to retain both the Scottish Premiership and the Scottish Cup on his return to the club.
Going nine games unbeaten at any level takes character, particularly when not at your best, or when missing key players.
These players have shown they’ve got what it takes, and with seven trophies from seven during his first spell in the hot-seat the manager too knows what it takes to win.
With 13 league games remaining and with the club in the last 8 of the Scottish Cup he now has clear sight of the challenges ahead.
It’s a united front that gives us the best possible chance of achieving those goals.
Tune in now to the latest episode of The Celtic Exchange Weekly as Brendan bites back!
Available wherever you get your podcasts or via the player below.