Remember when people were saying, not that long ago, that we wouldn’t know how good this team was until we’d played against our rivals, and then taken on Real Madrid?
Well, we’re past both of those games now and I still don’t think we know.
We swept the Ibrox club aside with an insouciance that was joyous to watch.
Madrid was always going to prove to be a tougher customer by far. As I said in a piece before the game, there really wasn’t anything to learn from that match unless we won it and then what?
Do we conclude we’re the best side in Europe all of a sudden?
We didn’t reach the summit of Everest.
We were never really expected to. We certainly played exceptionally well for a lot of the game and were simply outdone by pure quality. But stopping short of Madrid’s level doesn’t tell us the most important thing.
Which is how high we can actually get short of the peak.
We will take a giant step towards finding that out next midweek, when we travel to Poland. Donetsk awaits us there, on the back of thumping RB Leipzig.
We are going to learn something about ourselves then.
We are going to learn against the Germans.
These are the perfect two clubs to be going up against next.
Because these clubs are at a level where we have more than just a punchers chance of getting results.
We should test both of these sides, home and away. If we do that, then we’ll know something about how far this team has come. These are the games on which we will be judged.
I suspect we’re good enough to get something out of the away games.
I know that at home we’re going to give any side in this competition a game.
I said when I saw the fixture list that four points from the first three games would be a tremendous result, with the following two both at Celtic Park, and that’s the target we should be gunning for.
If we get it, we should dispatch both teams at home to seal second place before we even get to Madrid. I know that I cannot wait for next Wednesday to come, because that game will be massive in terms of our chances, and in measuring our progress.
Based on what we could glean from the Madrid game, we should be more than up to the job.