The news, this week, that Bayern Munich had been knocked out of the Champions League by Villarreal brought forth another dumb round of “Scotland’s clubs are still facing the nightmare scenario …”
In fact, what the press means is that Celtic are.
The possibility that the champions of Scotland would not go straight into next year’s groups was current when this season kicked off. It was live. It was a thing. But it was such a remote prospect that hardly anybody paid it any heed.
When the Ibrox club was winning games and people were talking crap about us maybe finishing fourth, nobody cared.
These stories have gained prominence for one reason only; the team marching towards the title is us instead of them.
The writers of this dreck go out of their way to include the Ibrox club in their dark scenario, but nobody really believes it will be them on the final day. The stories have but one purpose; to scare Celtic fans, and that’s all it is.
Barry Ferguson is the latest to push this line, going on an online radio show to lament “Scotland’s luck” but this too is fooling nobody.
Underneath every single one of these stories, all coached in terms of how dreadful this would be, you can sense the undercurrent of “please, don’t let Celtic make it.”
The reason this story will not die isn’t that there’s a real chance of it – Villarreal have as much chance of winning the Champions League as the Ibrox club has of winning the Europa – but because the media so desperately wants it to happen, so desperately wants us to robbed of the prize.
What their pet club here at home couldn’t do, they are hoping someone else in Europe will do for them.
And I think it’s absolutely pathetic, and I cannot imagine what they will do when this straw, like several others in the course of this season, is snatched away.