How do you measure the consequences of a moment?
Well, for starters you never try to measure them in the moment, because all moments happen in a context.
They happen as part of a greater whole, and it’s only when you look at the big picture that those moments take on a much greater, and larger, significance than they appear to at the time.
When Diego Laxalt put the ball in the net today, that was a moment.
For just a second a large section of our support had their vindication for giving Neil Lennon a little more time.
For others, they just sighed with relief that the damage to our title defence had been minimised.
Some of us will have looked at the moment, and tried to place it in that greater context.
Would a defeat today have seen the manager ushered towards the exit? Very possibly.
The people inside Celtic Park who run things surely know that this is becoming untenable. The loss of three points at the end of a dreadful match, where the manager showed tactical ineptness of almost breath-taking proportions may have been what finally drove the point home.
But Lennon’s defenders – of whom there are still way, way too many – have now been emboldened.
They will blame the players.
They will say the “comeback” proves that the manager got his tactics right in the end.
“He is Lennon. He deserves more time.”
And more time is exactly what he’ll get.
But more time to do what?
For me, all it does is hands him the shovel to dig us a bigger hole.
Am I glad we scored that second goal today?
I worry that the consequences of it will vastly outweigh any momentary relief it gave me.
If Lennon had lost that game and been escorted out of the building tonight there might have been no repeat performance of that fiasco, the same fiasco that has unfolded time and time again all the way through the opening part of this dire campaign so far.
But we know now that there will be a repeat.
Instead of seeing two points lost today, and the awful meaning of that, some will talk about the point we gained, but the truth is that that equaliser will end up costing us more than those two points. We know with the way this team is playing that more will be dropped next week or the week after or the week after that.
Eventually, we’ll come to a place where there is no defending this any further. Where there are no more excuses to be made. When the bridges are well and truly burned. At this rate, the league will be well beyond our reach before the change has to be made.
Before it comes, a lot of folk will be asking themselves “Should it have ended at Easter Road?” and the answer to that is indisputably yes. In my view it should have ended well before today, and certainly when Sparta Prague thoroughly turned us over a few weeks ago.
I have no doubt whatsoever that he will survive what we witnessed this afternoon. He shouldn’t. Had we been defeated more people would have been convinced of that. The argument would be had, in its full measure.
I fear all we’ve done today is push it down the road.
Diego Laxalt’s goal has not changed our situation in any way, shape or form.
Today was a disaster, but we’ve not yet fallen into the abyss.
We’ve dug our fingers into the dirt and we’re clinging on to the edge of the pit, but those fingers are bone weary and the energy is being sapped out of us by the steady erosion of confidence and belief.
A lot of us know this doesn’t have a happy ending.
Our only hope is that the agony is not prolonged, that we act in time to save the campaign, that we don’t needlessly drag this out hoping for a miracle that isn’t going to come.
Lennon has blown it.
The longer he’s in the dugout the deeper the hole we’re in gets, and this season isn’t even the half of it.
We have a dressing room that plainly isn’t on the same page with him, no matter what some of them say in public.
The longer we take to make a change, the more pissed off some of the players are going to get at having to cope with this mediocrity … and some of them are going to make the decision to leave and set their hearts on that in a way that won’t be changed. Any new manager is going to have repair a lot of damage before he even starts implimenting his own ideas.
We will regret what happened today. The dropping of two points is a disaster, but the rescuing of one might be a bigger disaster still, because some folk will still cling to hope instead of bowing to what is certainly inevitable and plainly necessary.
The rescuing of that point is going to cost us many more of them before this is done.
How many more of them will determine whether or not we win this title and complete our historic quest.
I think that quest is now severely imperilled.
The ultimate tragedy of it is that we may come to see Laxalt’s goal today as a defining moment, the moment where a chance to change course in time was lost to us.