Fans’ memories of football are written by the term “what if?” So many defeats and disappointments might have been ended if only a different action occurred.
Perhaps an earlier tackle, a harder shot or even just some obscure form of luck.
Except football doesn’t work like that. The only thing the history books care about is results.
Celtic were poor yesterday at Hampden. Yet had Cameron Carter-Vickers made it 2-0 the day would have been a triumph. Except it wasn’t. A great chance was missed and the Ibrox side equalised; unfortunately, it only looked like one winner after that.
Disappointment aside, the game’s done. We have to look now at what still remains.
This season has been a phenomenon. League Day 1 made it look as though all was lost and a long, hard year waited. But fortunes changed. Suddenly instead of a season of sufferance instead success loomed. The League Cup came. But still the League seemed a forlorn hope.
Until it didn’t.
The league turnaround that the Hoops have had in 2022 is phenomenal. Six points behind to six ahead is an amazing transformation. Five games to go; realistically three wins settles it.
Maybe even fewer.
The trick is to ensure that the focus isn’t on ‘what might have been’ but rather on ‘what is.’ The semi-final defeat is done. The focus must now be on Sunday’s Ross County trip.
A win next week brings back the positivity. And takes us much closer to a hugely important title win. It’s easy to worry about the negative. Or fixate on potential alternatives. But it’s all irrelevant.
Winning teams win; that’s all that matters. From next weekend, Celtic can start that again.
And don’t be in any doubt, if either club had to choose a priority at the start of the season – whether that’s the Scottish Cup or some improbable run in Europe, both would have chosen the League. With the £40 million up for grabs it’s no choice at all.
Right now, we are in command in the league. We have to keep it that way.
So smile. It’s always the best approach. We have a lot still to play for.
Matthew Marr is a frequent contributor to The CelticBlog. He is originally from Dundee.