As was painfully inevitable following yesterday’s result, the critics are swarming around Celtic this morning and around the manager in particular, making the sort of daft comparison with previous bosses which collapse under the weight of examination.
Nevertheless, I think that we should broadly welcome these articles and these comparisons.
As daft as they are, they send a clear message to everyone inside the club that performances like yesterday are just not acceptable and we have to do better.
The honeymoon has ended.
They all do. But that’s not bad in itself. They all end sooner or later.
Nobody is wearing blinkers here, but then I’d argue that none of us ever were.
The football thus far has been great to watch.
Yesterday, as Ange said, was the first time we’ve failed to perform as we know we can, but nobody thought we were the finished article yet and we all knew there would be bumps in the road along the way.
What that result has done is bring this home to us forcefully, in a way nobody can ignore.
We are a better team than that performance showed, but winning titles requires an ability to dig deep and get results even when you aren’t at your best … this team is missing some steel and it is vital that the manager and his team finds a way to instil some.
Bad results happen to every club; it’s how you deal with them that matters.
I don’t believe that we’re watching a Barnes or Mowbray or Brady type disaster or a let-down like the Venglos campaign, where we did sign some good players, played some brilliant football but ultimately failed to accomplish our goals.
But people are not talking about these scenarios for nothing and the press is not wrong to be asking hard questions of it today.
It helps that we have games on top of games right now. It helps that there is no let-up in the football, because the very worst thing about the Ibrox result was the long period of international nonsense after it when we all wanted to watch Celtic again.
We move forward to midweek, and it partly helps that it’s a home game, the first of three in a row, in three different competitions; the League Cup (Raith), the league (Dundee Utd) and the Europa League (Leverkusen.)
It will be 3 October before we go to Aberdeen, and there’s a chance to get some of the men who were missing yesterday into the side.
October will be the biggest test of us so far, with massive matches at Pittodrie, Easter Road and Motherwell, with Europa League football and the League Cup thrown in to boot. This team cannot perform as badly as they did yesterday in any of those games or we risk falling further behind our rivals, even if their own form isn’t great.
Negative coverage is good for us at a time like this. It will focus the minds of the players and the management team and give them all a jolt. Whatever went wrong yesterday, the important thing is that it must not be repeated.
Ange is not a Venglos, a Barnes, a Mowbray or a Brady but his current record looks an awful lot like theirs does at the moment, and although he won’t be concerned yet, those concerns will take root and grow unless that record starts to change.
The only way to do it is the way in which it was made; one game at a time.
All we can do is support the team, and all they can do is go into the next match and do the job and then proceed to the one after that and do the job and then proceed to the next one and win that too … eventually, with enough wins, nobody will be talking about where are right now.
Until then, we’re going to have to take a little bit of stick.