How does a side which seemingly has no challenge in its national league keep itself straight?
How does it stay focussed? Disciplined?
How does it keep life interesting when all around it the rest can barely keep up with the pace?
How about giving a team a goal of a start?
Not enough? Okay, give them two goals of a start.
In fact, give them a two goal lead at half time.
Surely that’s too much for any team to overcame, especially when they’re playing against a packed defence which doesn’t look like it’ll concede one let alone more than that?
But still, the team is too good.
So at 2-2, I’ll tell you what … give the opposition another one. Instantly.
Knock the players for six. Let them think all the hard work has been in vain, shatter the confidence. Wreck morale. 3-2 down after coming back.
That surely has to do it, right?
Of course not. Because this is a special team with a special manager.
This is a team that can still find the reserves of courage, determination and skill to go on and snatch it late.
Where does the challenge come from then?
I repeat, this is a special team with a special manager.
Today was remarkable.
Today was incredible.
Today we saw a side to this team which we hoped was there but until this game never got a chance to see.
Celtic sides of old have had this; the ability to drag themselves up from adversity, even the self-inflicted kind, to pound the opposition until they crack. Deep stores of gritty self-belief, the sort that can spark epic comebacks. It is what makes great title winning, treble winning, teams.
It has been the difference between merely good teams and great teams.
It is a quality that I wondered if we might lack, amidst all the beautiful football.
Today a lot of questions have been answered, with aplomb.
Take a bow, every player in the Hooped jersey today.
When Ronny was here I used to worry whenever we suffered a setback.
Go a man down, lose a goal at a crucial moment, a few missed chances … you’d see heads drop and players give up. We never saw anyone give up today and although there were some shaky performances – from Toure mostly, but also from Izzy and Lustig – nobody hid.
Nobody backed off.
Stuart Armstrong was magnificent.
Tom Rogic was clinical and deadly when the moment came.
Roberts terrorised out wide and scored with a lovely header.
Young McGregor came on in another wonderful Rodgers change – the kind Ronny never tried and which Warburton couldn’t even manufacture in his imagination – and scored.
This was sensational. From the determination of the players not to see the unbeaten run end to the tactical switch the manager made that changed the game. This is the stuff titles and trebles and historic Celtic teams are made of.
For weeks I’ve feared that we might lose our drive and our focus.
At half-time it seemed as if we had, but Brendan didn’t bollock the players, he simply changed the system again, told them to keep their heads up and, well, you saw the second half display. Even a packed defence and eleven men behind the ball couldn’t stop us scoring four times.
This feels like a huge result.
It was certainly a huge performance.
And can you imagine how our “title rivals” feel right now?
Man oh man, what a start to the weekend.