In case no-one has alerted you to it, last night the club from Ibrox lost 2-0 in their Champions League qualifier in Belgium.
It was a disastrous display, characterised by defensive lapses, tactical ineptitude and simple unpreparedness. Three of their new signings were on the bench, having been judged not ready to start.
Two others did start and were awful.
This is a familiar tale, for us.
Because we’ve been in that position before. This is the direct result of doing business late whilst the clock ticks down towards qualifiers.
There is a balancing act to these things and Ibrox was so keen to get Bassey off the books that they forgot the most obvious thing; whoever they signed would need a while to bed in.
The question is being asked; should they have kept Bassey and Aribo until these games were behind them?
They chose not to, and it’s too late now to have regrets about it.
These are questions that we had to answer last season in our own qualifying campaign.
These are not easy decisions to make. They are not good decisions to have to make.
Thankfully, our title win erased any need for us to worry.
Leaving aside the money, the biggest advantage to automatic qualification is that no juggling act like this was necessary at Celtic Park. We didn’t have these kinds of choices in front of us, only a quiet start to the campaign with no midweek fixtures to bother us.
Ibrox’s troubles have only just started.
The worst they do here is the Europa League groups, so if the Belgians finish the job, at least their club avoids two further qualifying games, because they go straight into those groups and don’t have to play the games against either Monaco or PSV … but there’s a hefty financial reward for playing those games which they won’t be getting either.
Morale takes a hit. The budget takes a hit.
They have made a big song and dance about their quality and their great European record … it will take a momentous hit.
Having those qualifiers to play, to gain access to that pot of gold, puts enormous pressure on a team, not that you’d have known it beforehand as all the talk was about how good they are over there and the infamous “European run.”
But that pressure is real, and inside the walls they’d have felt it.
So too is the pressure of all that expectation on the shoulders of their team for what I’ve always argued was a fluke. Their fans started this campaign thinking they could shoot the moon … it was always nonsense. These qualifiers were always likely to be a rude awakeneing.
But not this rude, of course, nor this funny.
None of it touches us at all.
We get to watch. We get to relax.
It’s a very sweet place for our club to be in this campaign.
Very sweet indeed.