Tonight was a dismal and disappointing one in many, many ways.
It’s not been a good day, and it’s ended in a really downbeat evening.
This time next week we’ll know our Champions League position; right now we have to accept that it’s going to take a very significant performance away in Athens for us to go through. Anderlecht is our Brendan Rodgers high-point in Europe.
I think it will need to be a better night even than that, with an even better display from this team.
Can we do it?
Yes, of course we can.
We were the better side for most of the game, but they don’t need to do anything more than sit back as they did tonight.
We couldn’t break them down at home, when they had ten men.
There is no evidence to suggest we’ll do better next week if they decide to play exactly the same way, which they won’t.
They will try to score and to kill us early doors, on their home turf.
They are capable of scoring, because we are horribly capable of conceding. They had one meaningful attack, as Livingston did at the weekend and with the same result. There’s no point in lamenting this, it’s a waste of time. Our frailties are not a secret. We had a kid at central defence tonight who was playing for Dundee last year. His partner was on loan at Kilmarnock the season before last. They will grow as players, but for now this is what we’ve got.
The fans were not angry at full time, the atmosphere on the whistle was flat and dead. There’s a resigned, almost numbed, feeling. The Champions League dream is slipping out of our fingers tonight, and we know it is. We also know what that means to the state of the team and it’s face up to facts time on that score.
Somebody – not the manager – decided we could get this job done with the squad we had.
They decided on the £40 million gamble.
If it fails, they will not pay the price for it. Directors never do.
But this will not cost us only money, because players will leave on the back of this.
The club is less attractive to potential signings, and conveniently that gives people an alibi they don’t deserve, because I am not convinced we would have seen much spent anyway.
There was a time when we could have sold footballers our club on the basis of Champions League football, but that’s valid only as long as we’re in the tournament.
There’s really no more to say on this game. The mood feels generally low.
The positivity has gone out of a lot of us, and the signing of a Man City youth player on loan is not going to improve it.
We are not here by accident, and don’t think for one second that we are.
We are here by design. The risk we’ve taken with qualification is part of the Grand Plan; there should be no doubt about that at all.
Somebody decided this was how it had to be.
That person works at Celtic Park, but has hurt us in a manner that no-one at Ibrox has been able to in almost a decade.