If Brendan Rodgers’ was irked in the aftermath of Celtic’s meek capitulation in Europe, it was further exasperated as he watched his side struggle to break down St Johnstone in Perth yesterday afternoon.
Until this week, his second time in office at Celtic has been far more sedate than his first tour of the duty in the dugout.
He has been far less vocal across the last four months about his needs and wants when it comes to transfers and budgets, the very course that ultimately led to a fracture with the club hierarchy during his first tenure.
There has been a deviation from that script across recent days with Rodgers’ offering a genuine assessment of where Celtic currently are and where he thinks they should be.
There was little ambiguity about his frustrations last week as he spelled out the quality at the club while he left those same players in no doubt at half-time in Perth yesterday about his feelings on the matter.
Without the likes of Reo Hatate, Liel Abada and Daizen Maeda there is an argument to suggest that Celtic’s creativity was always going to stutter.
But it is difficult to ignore the fact that this is a bloated squad that needs pruned and quality rather than quantity put in its place.
Rodgers was inevitably diplomatic when he was asked whether he would prioritise a goalkeeper in the January transfer window – a notoriously tough month to add quality to a squad – but if there was an argument about just who from Rangers would make it into Celtic’s starting XI just now Jack Butland’s name would be one of the first added.
The European stats make for toe-curling reading for Celtic. There will always be grumbles about a failure to compete at any level in Europe but any hint of a suggestion that domestic dominance is under threat and the grumbles will become roars of disapproval.
Most supporters are savvy enough to appreciate the market realities that Celtic operate in but the summer signings do not currently stack up to any kind of decent business, as evidence by the lack of playing time from those who arrived.
January will offer as much intrigue in who goes out as much as those who come in.