Even in the doldrums, even in their hardest times, it is a complete fallacy to say that teams often go into games with nothing to play for.
There is a sense of professionalism. There is pride.
There is a chance to build momentum.
Sometimes managers go into these games liberated, and do things they would never dream of, take risks they’d never consider.
Yet sometimes managers have been sacked after “meaningless” matches. Two recent Ibrox bosses were terminated after games which circumstances had rendered inconsequential. What they were instead was the tipping point where folk had just had enough.
Tonight doesn’t feel like anything is at stake at all.
This one is meaningless.
This one has nothing to play for.
We’re bottom of the Group and doomed, I think, to finish there.
If pride was something that bothered people at Celtic Park a lot of them wouldn’t have turned up for work on Monday. If professionalism mattered the coaching quarters and the boardroom would have been cleared out over the course of this dreadful half a week with its PR disasters.
The board has done this to us. The board has rendered this a consequences free football match.
They have made it plain that Lennon will remain in post come what may, even in the event of the sort of beating a manager usually wouldn’t survive. So he’s going over there, the whole team is going over there, knowing nothing is at stake. Even if the players wanted the manager sacked – as some have alleged – they couldn’t do it tonight.
I think it’s shocking that we’re going into this tonight knowing that no outcome matters a damn. There are pre-season friendlies with more riding on them than this, a trip to the San Siro, in a tournament where there’s money to be made and co-efficient points to earn.
But our board’s stance on Lennon – which is that he’s essentially untouchable until January at the earliest – makes a mockery of the whole club. A match like this should have been something to look forward to and savour; as it is, if I didn’t have to write about it and all the issues that surround it I wouldn’t even bother watching it.
Normally I’d be thinking about a piece on the implications of a truly bad night … but there will be no implications, no matter how bad the night gets.
We don’t even pretend to have standards anymore.