Pre-season tours. What do you ever learn on them? Nothing at all.
The lessons that you ended the previous season with still apply.
The players you knew would let you down do it all over again. You see footballers struggling to get fitness. You see managers experiment with new formations. You don’t get euphoric over victories or despondent over defeats. Only complete morons think there is something more to “winning” tournaments.
That silverware, in case nobody told them, doesn’t actually count for anything.
So we didn’t win a game.
But then, we saw this as a fitness exercise more than anything else. PSG have been playing like they were a team with a point to prove.
Lyon fielded a full strength team against us believing, probably, that we were as determined to make more of the non-event than Sevco.
They were wrong. We played our reserves in that one.
Only in the first game, against Nice, did the players give more than a token effort.
First game back and all that. Other than that, who cares?
Pre-season is not a time for losing one’s mind. It is not a time for worrying.
These matches will be less important than Hugh Keevins opinions by the time the coming campaign ends. Either we’ll have secured ten and nothing else will matter, or Aberdeen will have pipped us to the title and the mother of all Celtic Park inquests will be underway and heads will roll.
So I refuse to get overly excited over what we just saw, not that there was anything to be excited about.
Some folk will complain. Others will go OTT, as is their way.
Some will say the board should have strengthened by now; one little moment in the match had my heart in my mouth.
When the keeper went down and you realised how perfect that would have been for all those inside Celtic Park who may wonder if we can save a few quid by not signing one.
Bain got up anyway. So we’ll call that the warning shot, and pray it’s heeded.
That aside, I have no concerns and no complaints.
We played tonight against a top team side who’s second half sub, Draxler, cost more than our entire squad.
There was nothing to learn there tonight; a win would not have made us potential challengers for the Champions League just as a heavy defeat would not have wrecked our season before it starts.
Players are getting up to speed.
Fitness is still the key thing.
The real business starts the weekend after next.
I have no concerns about us being ready; we will be.
And pre-season will be forgotten just as it is every single year.
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