I am no longer in a place where I believe that one result or even a series of results is going to fix the bigger problems which face our club.
I wish I did believe it. I wish I thought it was a matter, now, of us hitting form for a while and that making everything okay.
But all week long I’ve been thinking of a certain Brendan Rodgers press conference and it’s haunting me.
It took place after his last game in charge of the club, the home win against Motherwell which saw a young Ewan Henderson make his debut in a 4-1 win.
The Motherwell goal that day was controversial.
Rodgers hand-waved the question when asked about rumours linking him to the Leicester job … a lot of us ignored that completely at the time.
I won’t lie to you, I felt my stomach lurch hearing Rodgers that day although I told myself that I was probably reading too much into it.
A day or two later I wrote a piece dismissing the idea that he would move to that club as the stuff of fantasy, and especially when there was crucial business in league and cup still to be done. Less than 12 hours later I knew I’d been wrong when I saw the bookies were giving you 1-10 on him making the move.
The following day, he was gone.
But I think I knew in the aftermath of the Motherwell game when he refused to even comment on, far less deny, the story.
He could have put it bed and he’d chosen not to.
Celtic, furthermore, hadn’t wanted the question at all.
The club knew the writing was on the wall.
That was the last time I dismissed my own internal concerns to put a brave “everything will be alright” face on something at Celtic Park.
I’m not prepared to do it this time.
I hope I’m wrong, but I’m not going to deny that I now harbour grave doubts about the manager’s ability to turn this around.
A win tomorrow will not fix this.
A win tomorrow will steady the nerves and paper over some of the cracks, but it will not stop the rot.
There are doubts which I just don’t think are going to go away.
The manager accepts now that he’s surviving game to game. His credibility is dwindling with every bad result. We’ve won once in six matches. We have lost the last three at home. We are not playing well even in some of the games this season where we’ve squeaked out victories.
I do expect us to win tomorrow.
We have superior footballers to Motherwell in every department.
Even with another team thrown together at random, we ought not to be dropping points in that match.
This is not a team of cowards or mental weaklings furthermore, no matter what the manager might wish us to believe.
These are champions, title holders, cup winners … this team has more mental fortitude and will to win than any Celtic side I’ve ever seen.
They will have the quality to get past Motherwell, and they simply have to.
We’re in a bad spot right now, but dropping anything in that game makes things exponentially worse. It is hard to overstate the damage it would do to the manager’s prospects of hanging on. It would also be a significant, perhaps even severe, blow to our title chances.
I can barely wrap my brain around the idea that we might lose more points tomorrow, as a result; the implications of it are too big, the potential consequences of it would be momentous. Neil Lennon needs this, the club needs this, the players need this …
Dropping points tomorrow would be Year Zero stuff.
The idea depresses me to be honest.
From where I’m sitting right now, only the disaster narrowly averted in the United States would have hit me with the force a bad result would tomorrow.
It is virtually unthinkable.