If I were in Brendan Rodgers’ shoes I would start with Moussa Dembele up front against Hibs today.

On his game Dembele is the best striker at Celtic Park.

And no-one wins with the striker warming a bench.

The news that the club have knocked back an offer for the player is interesting but what is particularly interesting for me is that way that Dembele and his camp have behaved over the last few weeks.

You would be hard pushed to point the finger towards the French striker.

In my own experience players who are agitating to leave a club do exactly that. They are an unsettling influence and, almost without exception, there are stories leaked about their desire to move and backpage headlines as they look to engineer a way out of the club.

There has not been one word publicly from either Dembele or his agent these past few weeks. There is no-one shouting about more money or anything else. You can say whatever you want – and no-one ever really knows what is going on behind the scenes – but from the outside looking in this is a guy whose professionalism has not been compromised by what has been going on.

To me the one thing that has really affected his form this season and prevented him from hitting that purple patch is the back-to-back hamstring injuries that he had at the end of last season and the beginning of this season.

Between that and the rotation of the three forward guys, I just think that he has never been able to get quite the same run of games going.

But to not play him just means that everyone loses out. Let him do what he does best and everything looks after itself – the club will get the fee they believe he is worth, the lad will get the move he feels should be the ideal next one for him. We all knew that Dembele was coming here for a short time and would then move on, that is no secret to anyone.

But if he is playing games and scoring goals then his price goes up.

In my final management season at Celtic we had Maurice Johnstone coming out of contract and you do get cheesed off as a manager being constantly questioned about it. There is no doubt that it becomes irksome but it did not stop me from picking him.

I eventually said there would be no more contract talks to stop the uncertainty over the situation – which I would say was a mistake in hindsight – but I do know that it can get under your skin.

But the difference here is that Dembele hasn’t put a foot wrong.

There was a bit of a song and dance when he strolled off the pitch against Rangers but that is the way he always is. I also think that in a situation like this, players tend to have more sympathy towards a team-mate than they do to the club, unless of course the player is acting like an idiot which just doesn’t appear to be the case.

What you would also have to say about Dembele is that he has dealt with speculation throughout his career. He wasn’t at Celtic a matter of months when there were rumours of clubs looking at him so it cannot be anything new.

This time last year his stock was as high as his price tag. Both have slipped because of the issues he has had this season but if his focus was going to be affected at any point then it would have been this time 12 months ago when there was a circle of clubs hovering around him.

I don’t know the boy at all, but he arrived at Celtic with what appeared to be a pretty mature outlook. He had knocked back bigger money at other clubs because he wanted his career to follow a particular path and he knew that exposure to European football would help him.

To me he remains a huge talent. He is young, he is an outstanding striker and he is capable of playing at the very top level. It is to his and to Celtic’s benefit to get back on the pitch and allow what may to come over the next week or so.

There are games against Hibs – whom Celtic have not beaten yet this season – and Hearts and essentially you want your best players on the pitch.