Brendan Rodgers believes his Celtic side have taken “a big mental step forward” in recent weeks and have shown greater quality in their play.
The Northern Irishman made his return to the club in the summer to replace Ange Postecoglou, with some key players leaving the squad and nine new faces arriving.
A shock cup exit to Kilmarnock, and the disappointment of a draw at home to St Johnstone marked a bumpy start to the season but the team has since won at Ibrox and defeated Livingston 3-0 after being reduced to ten men.
Rodgers feels things have settled now and he is seeing the benefits of players increasing the “intensity” of their work.
“Over the course of the summer and probably early part of the season, and with the transfer window, there was probably a feeling of a little bit of instability,” he said. “Are players going to be here or not? New manager coming, what is he asking us to do?
“But now I think the team have taken a really big mental step forward and you see that in how they are performing – the determination, the intensity, the quality is starting to move forward to the levels I want it to get to. That’s always the beginning of a really good team.
“I am really happy with the progress we are making day on day but we have to keep working very hard.
“My priority in my career, my body of work, has always been about the quality of our football, and that’s quality of football to win games. We are starting to see that now.”
Rodgers said that he had seen evidence of the improvements and mental strength in the defeat to Feyenoord, where the team had to cope with two sendings off, and the win over Livingston, that came despite Joe Hart being shown a red card after half an hour.
“The team’s traits have to be good organisation, togetherness and personality,” the manager said.
“I mentioned that before we went down to nine men and 10 men. Those are traits you need in any good team and the players have demonstrated that.
“The one thing I have always said, we won’t unravel mentally if we go down to 10 men. Why? Because the guys will understand what it is they have to do. And that’s what they did, both at Feyenoord and Livingston.
“We have to very quickly have a plan of what happens next. You saw against Livingston the stability of the team, they stayed calm, stayed in control.”
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