It was every bit as bad as I feared, and not even a first minute goal could alter the outcome or was even remotely likely to. We are massively out of our depth against teams of this quality; they could have scored more and it would not have flattered them.
But let’s cut to the chase and talk about the big negative; too many players in our team chuck it at this level when we lose our way in a game. It’s something Brendan will know about and something he badly needs to get sorted. It happened last season against Barcelona, twice, and it has happened twice against PSG.
Players lose heart and lose focus and the slack passing stats start to climb.
Even Eboue, when he came on, didn’t play with any confidence.
We need to get that fixed.
I don’t mind watching a Celtic team that is being outclassed. I do mind watching one that throws in the towel, that absolutely capitulates the way we did in spells in that match. And our goalkeeper … he would be the first to go if I were running the show at Celtic Park right now.
For all the criticism that will be levied at the midfield for giving away the ball and the defence for standing off the best players in the world, it in unconscionable to lose a goal virtually every time the opposition gets a shot on target.
I said this game was to be survived, not enjoyed.
It’s past us now and whilst certain people will have a field day, even as their club scrambles through the bargain bin looking for a manager, we have pressing business on the horizon that will not wait for players to lick their wounds or recover their composure.
I could not think of a better game to have up next than a cup final. These guys need to feel what it’s like to get their hands on silverware again. They need to refocus and get right back on the horse. I prefer it this way. There’s no time to feel sorry for themselves.
Some of the noises from the Motherwell camp are beyond stupid.
It’s all well and good to talk with confidence about your own team but I guarantee you that people inside that club cringed when Chris Cadden said we were a good side but on the day it’s eleven players against eleven players; with such simple-minded thinking I can safely say he has no career in coaching, except maybe at Ibrox. Never fear, the tabloids will have him as an analyst. It was eleven players against eleven players out there tonight and, well, you saw the results.
I expect us to be angry on the back of such a result. I expect professional pride to be hurt and our players smarting from that experience. And I expect that to be channelled into our best performance of the season this coming weekend.
In short, I expect us to win that cup in a game that, like this one, is over by roughly the half way mark. The team owes us a response. But more, they owe it to themselves. Brendan will demand nothing less. Motherwell will sorely regret what happened to us here.
Celtic, on the other hand, simply have to put it in the rear view mirror.
That is as tough a game as we have played since Brendan became boss, and it is the toughest game we will play for at least another year barring a disastrous Champions League groups draw next season that sends us right back to Paris for seconds. Yet even then I think we’ll be more ready.
There’s still a lot of work needs doing on this team … thankfully we have a massive game in just a few days, so our players will want to start early.