In the moment yesterday as Giakoumakis put that ball over the line, I think all of us were too happy to give much thought to anything else. This team could have laid down and quit.
Nobody would have been surprised.
The concession of a goal that late in a game is more often than not a disaster from which few can recover.
But we did recover.
Now that we’re living in a new age of nuclear sabre rattling, you would be forgiven for revisiting all those fears of the 80’s and the 90’s and “what if?”. I used to be haunted by the thought of the sirens and the three-minute warning.
I always thought that those three minutes, if they came, would be the quickest (and last) of our lives.
But in fact, what I’ve learned is that in moments when the clock is ticking down you get more thinking done than you might otherwise believe. I now think that those three minutes would be almost sanity breaking long. That they would, if you’ll pardon the pun, give us all the time in the world to think about loss, regret, fear and even anger.
For a little over a minute yesterday I know that our haters were rewriting league tables and dreaming up the headlines about how Ange and this team were collapsing before their eyes. In that short span of time, I know that there was a lot of back-slapping being done and big, big re-evaluations of the last eighteen months underway.
I don’t know what Celtic fans were thinking, but that’s what all those who can’t stand us and want to see us fail were doing.
They savoured the moment, but the mental calculations were happening at lightning speed, even from those who normally can’t think that fast. Because that equaliser “confirmed” every prejudice they had about us.
I know I was looking at the clock, ticking down, and thinking “there’s time … there’s still time here if this team hasn’t given up the ghost.”
I should have known better than even to let such a stupid idea enter my head.
The mantra holds true. “We never stop.”
For that one minute and change they got to have the world back the way they want it, and then we snatched it out of their hands.
They say that at the very end, before the bombs fall, that the sirens will actually stop; electromagnetic pulse, maybe, from a more distant detonation … but in that moment I don’t doubt that a lot of people would believe, perhaps, that salvation had come, that it was all a mistake, that it wasn’t really going to happen.
That was those people yesterday, celebrating way too soon, excited about something that was really nothing, before the flash of brilliant light which brings all other thoughts to an end.
Can you even imagine the funereal atmosphere at Ibrox yesterday before kick-off?
Over on Clyde they were talking about fans over there “honking their horns.”
Their panellists were honking their own pretty loudly.
A few seconds later … despair.
The same despondency was felt in the newsrooms.
They know what that late goal means. They know that it’s this side remembering what it is and what it can do.
This Celtic side didn’t just pull their dreams out of their hands, they stamped on them with full force.
They temporarily forgot we were strong.
Now they know better, and let me tell you, what comes next will not be lessened by duck and cover.
This will be shock and awe. We’re back.