On Wednesday Celtic plays one of the biggest club team in world football, on their home soil, in the Champions League. It should be an occasion I’m looking forward to. It’s not. It’s not a game I will enjoy even a little bit. It is not a game to be savoured.
It is a game to be survived. When we’ve come out of it on the other end, I will be a lot happier.
Curiously enough, I didn’t feel this way in Munich.
Maybe because the trip itself was so special and the atmosphere was so positive and upbeat. But I felt this way before the PSG game at Celtic Park, and that proved to be a good approximation of how I was going to feel after it was done. It was a relief just to hear the final whistle that night.
I expect it will come as a relief on Wednesday as well.
The focus should be on getting through that game in one piece, and by that I mean to avoid a hiding and any injury problems which could plague us on the way to the cup final at the weekend; that looms large now and is going to be the perfect tonic to whatever happens under the floodlights in Paris.
It is the best possible way for us to respond.
PSG are likely to unleash one of the most expensive forward lines ever assembled. Our response to that will probably be Mikael Lustig moved to central defence. We are over-matched here, it’s just that simple. Anyone in the media who pretends to be shocked by what happens in the event it goes as we suspect will be playing games and stirring it. No-one at Celtic realistically expects that we will go there and win.
Celtic is not a club that will find itself going toe-to-toe with these kind of teams in the hope of getting a result. We know our limitations, the fans, the players, the manager and the directors. All of us. Two years from now, who knows? When Brendan is working with a squad of players largely assembled by himself and his backroom team, when we get the central defender we crave and so badly need, we’ll see something then perhaps.
But until then we go into games like this one with natural trepidation and low expectations.
Our season takes a brief hiatus on Wednesday night; that’s the simple truth of it.
The real focus will be on the weekend and another massive domestic tie, and the first trophy of the current campaign.
Article amended to change Tuesday to Wednesday. Bloody Hell, I need to sleep …