Last night, one of the most disquieting things about the performance and the aftermath was the bracingly honest press conference from Callum McGregor.
What made it so honest is that he did not shirk responsibility, either for himself or his fellow players.
But he also hinted a deep frustration with the way the team is set up and, thus, the skills of the manager.
Do not mistake his comments for anything else. You do not need to make a huge leap of logic to arrive at the conclusion that he was taking a shot at Neil Lennon. You only have to listen to him and take his words at face value. They require no reading between the lines.
“We think we learnt our lesson by going to Lille and getting a good result and we’ve all to play for in the group. But then you cannot perform at this level or else you’ll get done. The second half we started a little bit better and we got the goal,” he said. “But then we have to join the performance up, but then we’re so disjointed it’s unbelievable. We’ve got half the team trying to score but we’re also two for two at the back. You can’t do this at this level, you get picked off.”
That is not an implied criticism of the team set-up … that is a blatant and undisguised one.
These are, as he has said, mistakes we keep making again and again … “we think we learnt our lesson” is a telling phrase here in this regard, because this is Callum admitting that we keep on doing the same things wrong. If he can see it then others in the dressing room can.
Scott Brown came out and took the responsibility onto the player’s shoulders, and his was the interview the club website choose to put up as the response of the squad; Scott is a good solider, and does not want to turn the criticism of Lennon into a firestorm.
But the manager himself threw petrol onto the flames with his comments last night, talking about a dressing room “culture” which he intends to challenge … those comments are shocking.
This is the dressing room which is on the brink of delivering a quadruple treble.
If these players were mentally weak or unfocussed we’d have seen it well before now. As it turns out, these guys who are apparently so lacking in these key areas are now on the longest unbeaten run of cup ties in the history of the Scottish game and probably much further afield.
I have no fears about our dressing room culture, or of the strength of character of this team.
My fears all revolve around the man in the dugout.
It is apparent from last night, and from Callum McGregor’s remarks, that at least some of the players share them.