Regrets? They’ll have a few.

That Brendan Rodgers’ side dropped more points in December this year than they did in the entirety of last season is notable but in many ways it is unfair to hold this current Hoops team up to the light of last season.

Its uniqueness was what made those achievements historical and all things given consideration, one defeat and a handful of draws in a calendar year is not bad going in anyone’s book.

But what was interesting on Saturday afternoon was how ragged and disjointed the Parkhead side were made to look, words that have rarely been mentioned in association with a Rodgers’ Celtic team.

They never offered any genuine fluency against Rangers yet could have been two to the good at the break. That the Ibrox side enjoyed the best of the second period was reflected in the post-match comments when Rodgers admitted that if you can’t win it you make sure you don’t lose it.

And one can only ponder what a more clinical finisher might have done with one and possible both of the efforts that had Craig Gordon earning his wage.

Certainly when Rodgers spoke after the game about a “revolving door” in January, interest was piqued. The issue of central defence has never quite been addressed; Jozo Siminovic and Dedryck Boyata offered glimpses of a decent partnership but under the scrutiny of the Champions League it has withered.

Among the casualties of the hefty defeats, albeit to Europe’s elite, was the confidence of the central pairing. Erik Sviatchenko, the other alternative, has rarely been glimpsed. The Dane was crocked in the Champions League qualifiers but since returning to fitness has been an entirely peripheral figure.

That he will move on would seem a certainty in the window.

The experience of 32-year-old Marvin Compper, signed and delivered before Christmas, will be welcomed, particularly from youngster Kristoffer Ajer. The Norwegian teenager played well on Saturday when it came to taking the ball out of defence but he still looks ill at ease at times defensively. If Rodgers is determined to try the player in that area, having an experienced and confident partner beside him to teach him the ropes is vital.

More pressing, is Moussa Dembele’s situation.

The French striker took the acknowledgements of the Celtic bench when he was replaced by Leigh Griffiths on the hour mark but by the time the whistle had sounded he was showered and changed having opted for the dressing room while the game was still ongoing.

His slow, languid stroll off the park as he applauded every corner of the stadium may well have told a story in itself.

If Virgil van Dijk’s story has cemented anything this week it is that you don’t sell anyone on the cheap. If Brighton or Everton or any of the other clubs who have been linked with Dembele want him, Celtic would be expected to stand firm in the wake of flimsy offers.

What offer interest, though, and was of note on Saturday against Rangers was just how off it Celtic are when Dembele and Scott Sinclair are. A case can be made for the influence of Scott Brown, another who is missed when not there, but last season it was the combination of Dembele and Sinclair who inspired Celtic to the success they enjoyed.

Both were pivotal to the way Celtic lorded it over the Ibrox side. Kicking off with that 5-1 drubbing at Celtic Park all the way back in 2016, Celtic went on to beat Rangers five times and draw once, netting 16 goals against the Ibrox side.

Dembele and Sinclair between them were responsible for 50% of that tally.

Both players – one who bagged 32 goals over the course of a campaign that finished prematurely due to injury – and one who performed a clean sweep of every individual award ceremonies in the country – were the lynchpins of Celtic under Rodgers; quick, direct and with menace in abundance.

Neither has hit the same heights.

Dembele’s season has been hindered by injury and while Sinclair’s stats measure up in terms of goals and assists from last year, he hasn’t carried the same swagger and belief. The Scott Sinclair of last season would not have scorned the three chances that fell his way on Saturday afternoon.

The break will give Rodgers the chance to recharge the batteries of players, some of whom had a week off in between seasons, while also taking stock of where surgery is required.

With Champions League money banked and a windfall from Van Dijk, there is money there to spend. Celtic will not break their own ceilings but the money that is there is sufficient to oversee sensible additions.