That was grim viewing for much of the second half, as our horrific tendency in some games to turn up for only 45 minutes showed itself and then some. We lost a two goal advantage in the most abysmal way.
But this team is stronger mentally than it’s ever been and we responded to the loss of the lead within a minute, went right up the park and scored.
Yes, that’s the mark – and the mentality – of champions folks, which is why tonight we are still at the top of the SPFL with another tough away match in the rear-view mirror and three points secured.
We deserved the win over the course of the 90 minutes, but we really did make our lives difficult.
But then, as I’ve pointed out, the fixture list has played its own role in making our lives difficult with an unprecedented run of games against the teams who before the season you’d have bet to finish in the top six.
We will win this title against the full gamut of dirty tricks and corrupt stitch ups and I have no issue whatsoever making that allegation; the “computer” does not send any team to Ibrox, Easter Road, Tynecastle, Aberdeen, Motherwell and Livingston in one cycle unless it’s being asked to come up with the toughest available fixture list.
Still, there would have been few excuses for that insipid, flat second half performance if we had thrown two points away tonight.
It was as if the team came out after half time having thought they had the game won and then got the rudest possible awakening. We rode our luck against Hearts with their missed penalty; we came close to it again this evening.
You can take the good from it – that we rallied, went right up the pitch and scored – and all of us can see that this team has that in us, as the League Cup Final has already proved as well, but that we are able to up that gear is proof enough that we too often take our foot off the gas. That needs to change. Ange said we don’t quit and we don’t relax … we do though, too often.
And yet I’m still pretty pleased overall.
You cannot watch us come storming back from self-inflicted adversity like that to secure the game and not feel a stab of pride and even elation that this team is capable of that, that this team has that in them.
Leagues are won by teams like this, teams with the craft to get the goals but also that resilience, that spirit, that determination, that grit. It was not pretty tonight, but it was pretty damned good just the same because that has to be disheartening for the chasing pack to watch.
Let them cling to our coat-tails as long as they can keep up.
We aren’t going to be caught.