Disappointment does different things to different people.
Some, it gets them out of bed in the morning and drives them to do better.
Others, it makes them want to pull the covers over their heads and block out the light.
We’ve all felt like that.
We’ve all seen something we wanted taken away or something we had lost to us forever.
Disappointment, frustration, anger … even grief.
All parts of the same awful circle, the one we call Loss.
People get over it. Whatever “it” is. Most people anyway.
Tonight a lot of us are feeling like crap.
A whole year of effort, of work, of fighting, of believing. Gone, in the blink of an eye.
People who don’t follow football don’t understand this, don’t get it.
They think we’re children for feeling this way, for wanting to close the curtains, for wanting to sit and feel sorry for ourselves.
They think we’re daft in the head, that we lead sad lives, that something in us is broken and can’t be fixed until we outgrow this daft obsession.
They are wrong. This is what love feels like.
These are the symptoms of a wounded (but not broken) heart.
That we feel this way about a football club is neither here nor there; the pain is real and they ought to respect that, even if they don’t really understand it.
But tomorrow we have to get up and get on with things.
There’s still stuff to be done, still a league title to be wrapped up in a bow. There are plans to make, Champions League qualifiers to prepare for, provided we’re going to be there.
With things this tight, there’s no time to feel despondent.
That carries with it huge risks; of doubts creeping in, of a hangover that extends into next year.
We all have our own ideas about what went wrong today.
For me, a deplorable refereeing decision has cost us a place in the cup final but on its own it would not have been enough to deny us the victory we all hoped we would see.
The truth is, too many players have been coasting it lately and were unable to rouse themselves up for the big game when it came.
The manager will know who let us down, and I trust he’ll deal with that in due course, but had the officials been alert (or maybe they were very alert, and simply didn’t want to know) the deficiencies in our performance would have been moot.
So it’s down to them. Period.
They are on the park for a reason, and today they failed, utterly, to spot the most blatant handball offence.
I said in my On Fields of Green article – which you can read below – that they ought to be subject to the same punishment for failure as that which afflicts managers, and I stand by it.
Anger does nothing to stem feeling absolutely gutted though.
Yet tomorrow we get up.
The team has a tough away game to Dundee Utd to come, and they’ve already beaten us on that ground this season and will provide tough opposition.
We need to be on our toes if we’re going to get the points from that game.
Trebles are the rarest thing in football, which is why so few sides have ever won one of them.
They require not only a kind of robotic concentration and discipline but a little bit of luck too.
One bad game, one bad mistake, and it’s over.
The margin for error is zero.
Today we suffered one of the most ghastly errors (if it was) that any of us has seen in years.
As bad as we feel, let’s remember who we are.
Those who would gloat tonight, theirs is one bright day in the sun.
We are Celtic supporters. We live in the sun.
That’s what really matters and tomorrow morning we will wake up torn and frustrated, but still that which makes us whole.
This is the greatest club in the world, and we are the greatest supporters.
The team, and the manager, will need us to end this season on the right note.
We must not fail them, even if we harbour the horrible notion that perhaps, today, they failed us a little.
I still believe in Ronny Deila and what he’s trying to do here.
I still believe we will win the league title and the next one and the one after that and the one after that and if anyone wants to take it from us thereafter they will have to pry it out of our cold dead hands.
One bright sunshine day doesn’t prepare you for life under its constant light.
Those who are having a rare old time this evening … enjoy it whilst you can because it’s your last for a while.
Today’s disappointment and despondency comes from knowing two things;
We deserved this …
…. and we were good enough to go all the way.
That’s what next year is for.
This won’t be the perfect season.
We’ll have to settle for the nearly perfect one instead.
Some fans don’t even get that.
Some fans never will.
(If you want to support this site, you can make a donation over on On Fields of Green.