The absence of the away goal rule will be the subject of intense debate for years.
If AZ score one at Celtic Park tomorrow there will be a collective shrug from our supporters because unless it’s a goal which puts them in front or makes an otherwise straightforward tie seem suddenly tight it will not have the dark significance that it once did.
In some ways, the task is less complicated than it’s ever been.
In some ways it’s more complicated. The second game is at their home ground. If we had escaped Celtic Park with a narrow win without conceding a goal, we’d be going over there in a pretty good mood.
What does it take, now, in this brave new world of ours, to put a tie to bed in the first leg?
The same as it always did.
Go to Holland with a three goal lead and it’s probably over because we’re capable of scoring over there, and then the only thing you’re sweating is a doing which brings the roof down on you.
It’s certainly possible … but is it likely?
So if we go with a three goal lead then I reckon we’re probably safe.
Even a two goal cushion gives you a lot of hope and reasons for optimism, although if we win 2-0 I will lament the loss of the away goals rule as I’d feel very confident for us if it still existed in that scenario.
I am far more optimistic about this tie than I was a month ago when the draw was made.
I still think this is a level of challenge we don’t need at this moment in time and that the club has been stunningly lax in getting transfer business done to prepare for it.
For all that, I believe we can win. I believe, in fact, that if the defence and the midfield do their job and limit the opposition in their attacks that we can put it away in the first leg, so that the trip over there is just about a formality.
Oh we’ll still have to be careful, but we won’t go over there feeling any fear or apprehension.
We can put ourselves in a good position.
We certainly have it in us to score the goals. That’s a given.
We have the firepower in this team to put this thing away tomorrow night.
The defence is the concern, and the midfield will have to marshal them brilliantly.
But Callum is in the best form since Rodgers’ debut season and we have lots to be optimistic about. The manager faces a number of selection choices, but just writing those words is pretty nice because it’s good that he has options.
I am looking forward to the game; that goes without saying.
I am certainly not filled with the trepidation I was when the draw was made, and the certainty that we were looking at Group Stage football in the third tier competition.
We have a right good chance here.
We simply have to be confident in going out and grabbing it tomorrow night at home.
Win convincingly, and put this tie beyond them, Celts.