Today Sevco lost at Dundee, to fall six points behind Aberdeen, who battled back from a goal down to win their game at Kilmarnock.
The chances of us clinching the title at Celtic Park, against the hapless Ibrox side, is now slim, because the Dons look to be getting it together in the second spot.
That doesn’t matter; Celtic Park will still be the place to be when they visit in a few weeks.
It will be a game their fans will remember darkly for years.
Sevco fans have never enjoyed a happy relationship with reality, but the one they are trying not to face right now is the harshest it’s ever been for them. Their entire club is in deadly peril, and the range of options open to them has narrowed to the point where it must feel like the walls themselves are closing in on them from all sides.
In the boardroom, the stench of fear must be overwhelming.
These people have no answer at all to the myriad problems their club is facing. Today they witnessed Graeme Murty’s team barely trouble a Dundee side who outfought them in every part of the pitch. The home team did what all sides should be doing against this shower; they got right in their faces, they matched them in aggression. When sides do that it becomes a matter of talent and who has the best players, and the simple truth is that Dundee did and it showed.
So what do they do now?
I said last week that one of the best moves they’ve made in this chaotic last few weeks was to appoint Murty as interim manager. He has no expectations beyond getting through the season. Anyone else would want at least a glimmer of the chance to keep the job, and that puts the blockers on the big “long term plan.” The only other thing to do is get someone in the door, now, to do the job on a full time basis.
Which means rushing.
Which means appointing someone in a hurry.
But what’s the alternative? Murty already looks as forlorn as McDowell did two years ago and he’s made it clear he views coming to Celtic Park next month with actual dread. Can they really afford to leave this guy in the dugout and maybe even see third spot fall? Can they afford for Hamilton to turf them out of the Scottish Cup, in front of a home crowd?
The last few weeks have humiliated an already scarred support.
Imagine what the next few will do to them. And the pressure will increase the longer Murty stays in post; although I said it was the smartest thing they’ve done, that’s peculiar to their circumstances because interim managers are rarely a good idea unless they knew what they were walking into and this guy had no idea. Two weeks ago he was coaching their kids, now a league position and prize money rests on his shoulders and he wasn’t even remotely ready for it. He looks shell-shocked.
There’s something about their support that always amazes me; the full force of what’s happening to their club just refuses to sink in.
They need it to, and fast, because they are in serious trouble.
The most important decision they’ve taken in their five year existence is facing this board and if they get it wrong the full force of it will hit them like a hurricane.
We are lucky, as Celtic fans.
I said today that spending money on the right things is more important than a one-off splurge on players, because Celtic is too precious to us to risk for the sake of some temporary success. Celtic is something we will hand down to our kids, something we’ve protected by being willing to make sacrifices.
Their club emerged from the wreckage of one that died chasing exactly temporary success; if I were in their shoes I would look back on the “glory years” with shame and dismay rather than with pride. They weren’t bought as cheaply as a lot of their fans thought and as selfish as they were, the supporters of this one are worse because it looks to me as if they are willing to hand down to their own kids a ticking time-bomb of a club if one exists at all.
The horrible reality for them might be that days like this are the norm for a while.
How long? Years maybe.
They need to decide whether that’s enough, or if they want to risk their very existence to chase our tails. The choice isn’t about challenging Celtic or not any longer; it’s about accepting their current position or facing maybe not having a club to follow at all.