When this season began, it began with a large number of our supporters labouring to have any meaningful expectations of the campaign in front of us. Let’s not kid ourselves, the board left us in a truly dreadful position.
Few saw a way through it.
We had an entire squad to build, including the captain to replace.
We thought we’d need a backroom team.
We knew the manager would need time, but the season was creeping up on us so swiftly that he was running out of that before he’d even started. The first pre-season games took place with the squad building not even underway and the manager having just met the team.
Debate raged about what a good season would look like.
I realised pretty early on that Ange was the right guy with the right ideas, although I had been appalled by the appointment. Despite believing that he would have the answers if he got the chance to stamp his mark on the team I worried it would take longer than he had.
Looking at the shambles, I had written off Europe right away.
The Champions League defeat barely bothered me; I knew we didn’t have a hope in Hell of reaching the Groups in that competition. When we dropped to the Europa and drew the Austrians I thought they might put us out.
As brilliant as we were, I was certain the Dutch would have our number.
I couldn’t believe that we beat them; that night at Celtic Park, I really became a believer.
Getting to the Europa Groups was a massive, massive achievement for a makeshift team under a new manager.
We have never gotten the credit for that which we deserved from the media.
Domestic form was, of course, all over the place early on.
We had the worst possible start on our run of away games.
The press was talking garbage about us finishing third or fourth; at the time, if you were looking at hard numbers and the scale of the job the manager had inherited you might have been tempted to give them the benefit of the doubt.
From our standing start, it wasn’t entirely out of the question.
But even then the signs were there that this guy, Ange Postecoglou, was starting to get his bigger ideas across to the players. We were better than the numbers looked. We were on the right track.
How different things look now, and had we scored that last minute penalty kick against Livingston they would look even better. We are a settled team, with a manager who has started to find his rhythm.
The playing squad is as unified as it has been since Rodgers first campaign, and that has paid dividends already. And January beckons, with some fresh blood coming in.
Above all else, we are in a cup final, and this team has a chance to sate itself on the blood of Hibs, for our first domestic honour under the new boss. They will give us one Hell of a game, but we are most certainly the favourites and should have enough about us to do it.
If we do win the League Cup, Callum McGregor lifting that trophy will seem like something out of a fairy-tale.
The triumph of Ange Postecoglou will be the unlikeliest rise since a teenager named Gaius Octavianus inherited his great uncle’s fortune, and his name, and then surpassed all Caesar’s many accomplishments, and went on to become Augustus.
We are on the brink of something truly momentous.
Do not let anyone tell you that the game at Hampden to come is just another cup final.
Getting our hands on that trophy, should we manage to do it, will not simply have been a matter of beating the handful of teams who stood in our way; it was Mission Impossible.