Brendan Rodgers insists he warned his players to have the correct intensity and physicality levels ahead of Celtic’s trip to St Johnstone.

So, when he didn’t see that during the first-half showing at McDiarmid Park on Sunday, the Irishman had no option but to give them a verbal kick up the backside.

Post-match, Rodgers revealed it was the angriest he’s ever been at half time in a game. He branded his players ‘soft’ at St Johnstone’s opener, and levelled the criticism that too many of them were going through the motions.

They delivered the required reaction that he was looking for as Callum McGregor, Matt O’Riley and James Forrest stepped up with the goals to secure a 3-1 comeback victory.

But Rodgers maintains he had to dig his players out for falling way short of the standards he expected.

“Obviously, it’s a challenge when teams are sat in deep and you’re having to break them down,” the 50-year-old said. “But the aspects that do that - as you saw in the second half - is the speed and the tempo of the game.

“That brings pressure then you get opportunities. It was just an observation of the game, almost too nice.

“It’s not normally how I work. It’s because we normally have that intensity of that and the physicality then it’s about tactical solutions in the game. But you can’t talk tactics if you don’t get your physicality and intensity right.

“It was just a feeling in the game of what was required. I don’t overthink what I’m going to say but it’s a feeling you have within the game to manage and coach.

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“I’m also conscious that I’m not someone who would psychologically abuse a player. That would go deep for me and something I’d be really uncomfortable with.

“I’ve never been that person, father, whatever. But certainly, when it’s needed I can bring it out.

“I think what it was more was about was I’d brought it up before the game.

“We needed to work harder in the Lazio game. I think we needed to be better than that and be more intense than that.

“Even though it went down to the last ten minutes, I felt we could have been better in that game. So to then bring that into the next game, that didn’t sit well.”