There was a time when picking up an away point in the Champions League would have been hailed as a triumph, and losing 3-0 at home to Real Madrid would have seemed like no big thing. But this is a different Celtic team, and a different Champions League campaign.
Last night’s performance in Warsaw was superb. We were brilliant. That’s why the overall feeling today is frustration. Pride, yes, but a grinding awful knowledge that those three points were there for the taking and that we could have had them.
I am trying not to let that be the overwhelming feeling I get when I think about the last two games, but it’s there and perhaps instead of ignoring it I should acknowledge it instead. Because it’s a measure of how good we’ve gotten, and how far we’ve come.
The idea that we should be cursing ourselves for failing to beat a good side, comfortably, is a good thing, isn’t it? Ange hasn’t got us all the way yet to where we’re confident of beating anybody but we’re certainly in a place where we know we can produce on the big stage. That gives us more than a punchers chance in the ring.
We should be confident of beating Leipzig. That’s a big statement to make, but I make it with total belief based on what we watched last night. There is nothing to fear from any team outside the very top bracket, and anyone who’s watched us will not fancy coming up against us whilst we’re playing that kind of football.
I am hugely disappointed that we didn’t win the game last night, but what makes it easier to bear is knowing that this team is perfectly capable of beating Leipzig next although that match is in front of their home crowd.
And we’re talking about this seriously. Debating this seriously. Wondering if we can get out of this Group on ten points … that means wrapping up before we travel to Madrid, so that the game over there is nothing but a glorified friendly match.
More than that, most of us believe that we can, and that’s why there is frustration today, because we know how good we’ve gotten and how good we can be.