Neil Lennon will be satisfied if Celtic wins tomorrow. He won’t believe that we need to secure a major victory, or run up a cricket score. For him, getting the victory will most likely be enough. For the board, it will do the job that was required and buy them time.
To Celtic fans, a scrappy win will pose more difficult questions and harden the conviction that we are treading water and heading towards a future disaster. Celtic fans want to see a performance that shows the team at its best. Nothing less will do.
Listen, I’ll take a win right now, even a scrappy one.
We have the best cup record that has ever been produced by a UK club and nobody wants to see it end. It is massive for us, and so yes this game comes with a lot of pressure on the manager and players … but they should be used to it. They will be more than capable of handling it.
Lennon may criticise their mentality, but these players have proved they have the stuff over and over again. Even accounting for dreadful organisation, we should be able to rely on our players being stronger and better than their counterparts.
Honestly, I am tired watching this team play boring football and having the players look like chickens with their heads cut off.
Tomorrow needs to be noticeably better than what we’ve been watching lately, and it has to look like there’s cohesion to it and some kind of plan behind the tactics. The players have to look as if they know what they are doing, that whatever’s been said in the aftermath of Thursday night’s disgrace has actually had some effect.
We are not just playing to maintain this record, or to give the manager a little breathing space; this is about the pride of the club and the supporters want to see that these footballers and those in the dugout actually get it, that they care.
Defeat is absolutely unimaginable; the reaction would scorch Celtic Park and all in it.
We won’t lose, because we can’t.
It would be like an atom bomb going off with the club at Ground Zero. Few of us expected that Lennon could survive two epic defeats at the hands of Prague; it is unthinkable that anyone would defend him if we lose tomorrow and inconceivable that he could soldier on. The announcement would come within an hour of full time.
At this point it would be mad to try and guess what the starting line-up will look like; I’d be amazed if there were more than a couple of changes. Expect Barkas between the sticks, as Lennon is dreadful at sticking by players who are under pressure.
In this case, Bain has made the decision easy for him.
Other than that, I doubt we’ll see much change … unless the manager goes three at the back and two up front, in his latest attempt to work out what’s gone wrong. It needs to start coming together. It needs to start tomorrow, or the pressure is going to grow.