Today, on the anniversary of the greatest triumph in our club’s history, I have mixed emotions about the day.
There is, on the one hand, a real sadness that we’re not coming off the back of a quadruple treble hangover to end them all, and there’s the happiness that this will still lie in our future.
The global health emergency has really messed things up.
But the hangover would have been a great way to commemorate Lisbon.
The whole of the weekend just past could have been dedicated to it.
This is truly a great time to be a Celtic supporter.
We went through tough ones during the 90’s; it feels as if this is our reward for sticking by the club and for being faithful through and through.
Lisbon is our great proof of Celtic’s special place in the game.
It signifies what we were and are and could one day be. European football has changed too much for that, some say, but the global health emergency is going to have after effects we might not even properly understand for some years to come.
Perhaps by the end of this the case for some sort of pan-European league, or a cross border one on this island, will be clearer than it’s been before.
If we assume that all the effects of this crisis will be bad ones we ignore the possibility that there might be a great opportunity here instead.
Lisbon’s impact can be felt right across the club.
There is no facet of Celtic that has not be shaped by that glorious achievement.
You would expect that.
What would shock neutrals looking at it for the first time is how completely the Lisbon triumph has shaped our rivals too.
David Murray broke his club in pursuit of equally what we had done.
The total destruction of Rangers was a consequence of that mad effort, a quest that had no likliehood of success even in the year they were “one game away from the final.” So much rot has been talked about that “run” that you could fill a book with it. The truth is, they never got near it.
The statue outside Celtic Park, of Stein with that famous trophy, is one that was never remotely likely to be mirrored at Ibrox.
There is little doubt though that Murray believed in the possibility. He spent every penny he could lay his hands on – via the bank that was later nationalised – in trying to achieve that goal. It was in vain, and in fact it ruined them.
Celtic’s success in that arena haunted Murray until the moment he left Ibrox.
A year later, the club itself was gone from the world.
Sevco has no such lofty ambitions.
Making it to the Group Stages in the Europa League constitutes a success for them now.
They harbour no goals of winning a European trophy. Indeed, they are doing exactly the same as Rangers did, spending what they do not have, but in order to accomplish much smaller, and apparently more manageable, goals.
Even these elude them.
Sevco’s goal is to simply to stop us hoovering up every domestic trophy from now until doomsday.
Whereas Rangers was willing to risk – and eventually found – ruination for a European triumph, Sevco drives itself to the brink of destruction and would settle for a League Cup at the end of it all. There is no greater way of looking at what our achievements mean than that.
This is what we have reduced the Ibrox world-view to.
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