Thursday night at Celtic Park is a chance to settle a score. To right a wrong. It’s a chance at redemption and a chance at resolution. Because the score we have to settle is with ourselves. The right we have to wrong is one inflicted by our own hand.
This is not about revenge. It’s an over-used and actually misused word.
I am aware I’ve probably used it myself in the context of this draw. If I have, I apologise and retract it. The word implies payback, it implies some sort of grievance, some sort of wrong done. All Cluj did was take advantage of our own errors and slips. We screwed up and they pounced.
Football on the pitch is one of the great forms of meritocracy, and the laws of the game take no inspiration from the reputations or self-perceptions of the clubs involved, not even in Scotland where it’s more of an unspoken view than something actually written down.
Celtic might be the bigger club, but are we the better team at this moment in time?
That is the only question that Thursday night will seek to answer.
It is an important question in many ways. A vital question.
One that we do need an answer to. We need to know if that night at Celtic Park was what many of us say it was; an aberration. To prove the point, we need to decisively reverse the previous result and our players will be as keen to do it as our opponents will be to prevent us.
I believe we are a better team. Lennon, who’s mistakes on the night are what really cost us, knows we are.
He, and indeed all of us, are fortunate to be in a position where we can turn our one defeat of the season around, and show it up for what it was.
It is our one real slip-up this season so far, a greater negative by far than dropping points yesterday.
The psychological lift from setting it right will be decisive, and the three points will put us in a very good position in the Group.
It should make for an intriguing contest.
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