What a night this is going to be. I am hugely excited for it.
This, more than Real Madrid, will educate us about the progress of this team. This, more than anything we’ve seen in Scotland, will tell us how far this team has come and where it might be going under this manager. This is the real test.
I think we will win. I think we’re better built for this kind of stage than we have been in ages, but European football has become incredibly unpredictable. Look at some of the results last night; Brugge demolishing Porto was an incredible result and so was Leverkusen beating Atletico Madrid. In recent weeks, Chelsea have lost to Zagreb.
So although I’m confident, I’m not going to make crazy predictions or start counting the points. We have a good squad and a good chance, but they’ve already proved that they can shock sides with their comfortable win in Germany.
If we get the basics right tonight, and if we take our chances, we’ll be in good shape coming out of the game. I said when the draw was made that four points from the opening three matches would be a triumph and set us up nicely for the two big games at home, and so this is a massive night with huge stakes for the club.
The opposition will be up for it. Their nation is facing real peril and real loss as opposed to the death of one distant figure. I have resigned myself to the fact that much of Europe does not want us to win and would much rather that the Ukrainians did.
We are not used to be in this underdog role. But we’ll take it.
The Boss has urged the team to be ruthless. He is right. We need to come out of the traps and try to hurt this team as badly, and as quickly, as we can. Show no mercy. Show no sentiment. Tonight should be all about us. Tonight will be all about us.
As I write this, UEFA has decided that there will be no minute’s silence tonight and I cannot disagree with that at all. This game is being played in Warsaw against a Ukrainian team. Our own club will be forced to pay a moribund tribute soon enough.
Tonight should be – and will be – all about the football.