Psychology is a big thing in professional sports. It’s why teams hire psychologists and employ motivational speakers and other such things. The game runs on confidence.
Think of what it takes to take a penalty, or free kick, or try that last second dink that Rogic put in during the game on Wednesday night.
You see certain players in moments like that, and as the guy who scored the goal to win the Invincible Treble late that day at Hampden you know he is one of those footballers who thrives under tremendous pressure.
They will not get it right every time.
The penalty shoot-out defeat in Ronny’s second season, where Rogic missed the critical kick, proves that. What many people don’t remember though is that it was his goal in extra time which got us to penalties in the first place.
He produces the goods. There is no doubt about it.
When you are in great need in a tight game it is a man like Rogic you need to pull off the miracle.
I have watched our midweek winner a hundred times since it was scored.
Honestly. I love to dissect moments like this. It’s not just about how it’s a big moment for Celtic either; I think it will prove to be a crucial moment in this title race, so it is an historic goal.
I watch it, in some ways, for the same reasons I’ve watched The Last Dance three times now; there are iconic moments in that series of Jordan or someone else producing a last ditch winner.
I watch them for what it tells you about the psychology of winners … and losers.
How many times, for example, have I watched David Gray’s winner for Hibs in the cup final of 2016? At least a hundred, I’m sure. From the moment Stokes got the equaliser that day there was only going to be one side that won. But it still took someone with determination and a never-quit attitude to get in front of their exhausted defenders to header that ball home.
He will manage Hibs this weekend. That’s dangerous for us.
Not as dangerous, I think, as Maloney would have been, but his team will push and give everything because that’s the kind of player he was.
The same kind of player as Tom Rogic.
None of this is to disparage Ralston; there will be a couple of pieces up about him over the course of the day, and he did everything right in getting to that ball and putting it away.
But the magic came from Rogic, from his getting that so perfect delivery under pressure, and knowing that it had to be better than everything that came before it … and getting it done.
It’s as if he lives for moments like that.
It’s as if he comes most fully alive in games when the opposition are switching off, and a player as good as him only needs one moment to change the trajectory of a game and a season and make history.
Rogic has improved out of sight under Ange. He is now a 90-minute footballer.
But that other thing, that intangible, that winner’s mentality, that was there before Ange arrived and it will always be there. That calm under pressure can’t be taught and it can’t be lost … that endures because it comes from a place within him. At the critical moment he can do what Jordan was so good at; he can shut out the rest of the world and concentrate on the moment.
I have a feeling that he will be the cup final hero for us again at the weekend.