That never looked like being “one of those nights”.
One of the ones you remember fondly for years, one of those that, like Rome, made me want to stick Wagner on and blare it at full volume.
That was not as exciting.
The result is probably fair, although both sides will argue that they could have won it.
We certainly missed a hatful of chances.
Edouard scored one, but should have had more. Forrest and Christie both spurned chances when, in fact, they should have squared them to the Frenchman. There’s a little greed in our front-line at times; Lennon wants to knock that trait out of this team pronto.
It will cost us at some point if we don’t hit it on the head.
But tonight we’ve gotten what was needed.
We’re taking a draw and an away goal back to Celtic Park.
Satisfactory. Very satisfactory indeed, especially as big Fraser again proved that he’s worth every penny we’d need to pay for him.
If ever two deals needed done, they are the one to sign Edouard up for a couple more years and the one to get Fraser here on a permanent. Moments like the penalty save are why a class goalkeeper –and he absolutely is one – is worth his weight in gold.
Overall, I thought we played with discipline.
We restricted their chances at goal.
We tried to hit them on the break. You could see Lennon’s game-plan.
Sometimes a night like this is about sitting deep and conserving energy; we are still in the midst of a major domestic schedule and it won’t get any easier with the addition of two more (at a minimum) European ties.
So although tonight was important in its own right, there was a bigger picture to keep an eye on, and to my thinking Lennon had that firmly in mind.
Even the substitutions hinted at it.
Was I disappointed that Klimala wasn’t in the squad? Yes.
Was I disappointed that Bayo didn’t get time on the pitch? Of course.
But everyone’s going to get his chance going forward.
To talk, for one moment, about players; I thought Ajer was excellent tonight, easily back to being the player we all know and love and who top clubs were sniffing around. And I thought Jullien was, as ever, quite immense. What a warrior he is.
I would have put everything on him coming off when he got that head-knock, but he soldiered on and never shirked.
What a signing he has been for. Proof that you get what you pay for.
The one other crucial element in the game was the VAR decision to award a penalty; on another night that’s a fifty-fifty that depends on what the referee saw and the view he had. VAR left you in no doubt that it was a spot kick, and that’s why I support the technology.
Sevco have talked it up for domestic purposes, but you could read the fear in Gerrard’s words when he reminded his players before this one that they couldn’t rely on the security of the Larkhall Referees Association giving them aid and comfort tonight.
He knows that if the playing field is level his team will find itself in a whole lot of trouble they’d otherwise avoid.
If that’s what the revolution looks like, then I’m all for it.