If there is one positive to emerge from Celtic’s otherwise calamitous Champions League campaign it is that the predicament ought to greatly strengthen Brendan Rodgers’ hand at the negotiating table.

Rodgers returned in the summer hoping to make Celtic a credible force in the European arena once again. Instead four defeats and a draw have shown that they are not properly equipped to cope with the demands at this level.

Celtic in recent years have stuck diligently to a recruitment model centred on signing promising players in the nascent years of their careers, all bursting with potential and talent but with little know-how or experience to accompany that.

Almost all have been under 24 years old, still young enough to be moulded into the finished article and then sold on down the line for vast profit. It is a strategy that has bolstered the club’s bank balance sheet but has done nothing for their European prospects.

Rodgers sees developing players as a vocation, something that evidently excites him as a coach and manager, but even he needs help, especially at a club where long-term growth can never come at the expense of short- to medium-term success.

Rodgers spoke yesterday of the “privilege” of meeting the Pope in Rome this week but perhaps it was his brief audience with Dermot Desmond, Celtic’s majority shareholder, that was of greater significance.

Somewhere along the line the manager’s plea for more experienced players to be brought in to help the squad appears to have been belatedly accepted by the Celtic board, judging by how bullish rather than hopeful Rodgers sounded about a future tweaking of the club’s signing policy.

“There’s no doubt that experience is important,” he said. “You cannot just have a team of really young players. You’re never going to extract that potential out of them unless you have that experience beside them.

“If you solely rely on young players for game after game after game then they don’t have the games in their legs. You’ll find they will break down. Listen, every club will look to bring in young talented players and that can be a business model then you progress them and they fly and the club gets the money. But every player can’t be that.

“I felt when I came in here in the summer, with the squad that was already in place from last season, that we probably needed four players. By that I meant four quality players to add to the squad.

“Now, how the game works, you lose players, and there were players that were earmarked to come here prior to me coming here. We have got young talents here that will develop and grow and that’s the model of the club.

“But of course to continue to improve and grow you need to also have players who are established because they help bring those players up. And I am very, very confident that we can do that over the coming windows.

“It doesn’t necessarily all have to be in January because the right players might not be available. It might be the summer but certainly over my time here we want to improve the depth and quality. If in January we can do that, then I’m pretty sure the club will give us every chance to improve the team.”

Rodgers highlights the significance of Callum McGregor and Joe Hart as two key figures who lead both on and off the field, similar to the way Scott Brown and others did in his first spell as manager.

“It’s a balance because I enjoy working with young players and seeing them grow and develop,” added the manager, who also revealed he doesn’t expect Reo Hatate to take part in the Asian Cup next month.

“But equally I love working with senior players who can help bring them through. Being here the first time, Scott Brown was a massive influence on Callum McGregor when he was 32. Kolo Toure was a great role model for Dedryck Boyata and the other centre halves here in helping them get through games.

“You definitely need that experience in games.  And they also bring those habits and behaviours off the pitch. Young players should see the self-drive of the players and I think a young modern player now has to look at the discipline.

“The likes of Joe Hart to be playing to his age, it’s a great discipline he has every day. His commitment every day to training and his enthusiasm for the game passes on to the younger players then hopefully they see how hard these guys work and how driven they are.

“The quicker you can understand as a young player that through hard work you get results and then you don’t get tired, that’s what that experience can bring.”

Celtic’s struggles in the Champions League have clearly also been deflating for Rodgers on a personal level but he chose to again put the players first as they look to bounce back from the latest European setback by beating St Johnstone tomorrow.

“It’s easy [as a manager] when you’re winning all the games and everything is smooth,” added the Northern Irishman. “Now is the time that you lead. That’s what a leader does. You lead in the moments when there’s disappointment. But as I’ve always said that’s where your strength comes from. It comes from disappointment.

“I really felt for the players the other night as they gave their all. Unfortunately we lost it late on and our hope of European football was gone. Naturally there’s disappointment but my job is to look beyond that.

“You’re leading the club. And as one of the pillars of the club it doesn’t matter how you feel. Your commitment is to the team, the players and the overall club. But in order to succeed you need to have failure, otherwise it doesn’t come.

“Hopefully I’ve shown the resilience and the strength to park it and move on. There’s always sunshine after the clouds. We can’t wallow in what happened the other night. There’s 24 hours of grieving and now we move on and try to be better in our next game.”