Let me be blunt; I couldn’t give a monkeys for Celtic’s “unwanted records” which are all in the media this morning.
Nine Champions League home defeats in a row?
What relevance does it have in relation to what we watched last night?
Brendan The Great is responsible for the bulk of those, so why is it being hung around the neck of Ange and this team?
If we beat Shakhtar we end that record at a stroke.
Ange’s own record will be two defeats and a win.
It doesn’t help us this season, but it assures that we don’t hear nonsense about “ten home defeats in a row” next year. Since the media never gives Ange credit for Lisbon, it has no damned right to hold him responsible for other things that happened years before he arrived.
The historical record is not his to avenge or defend.
It exists separate to him, and apart from him. It would exist if he was here or not.
The weight of it is not his to carry, and it’s bad enough that the media is making him carry it.
We should not do the same.
We wanted to be able to judge this team based on its Champions League endeavours. Let’s not kid ourselves on, this campaign has been an unmitigated disaster in terms of results. But those who are sneering at it, and us, are continuing to ignore evidence and tailoring what’s in front of them to suit the picture that they want to paint.
I’ve never seen a Celtic side in this competition create so many chances, and although some of the hacks are desperately trying to find a way to justify their contention that we’ve also conceded a lot of goals and therefore the system is wrong, I would take issue with their overly simplistic view. I do feel a little sympathy for them; these aren’t the smartest kids in the class.
If they were they would be working for London titles, not at places like The Record.
But their lack of a basic understanding of football doesn’t get them off the hook.
Much of what some of them are writing today is flagrant nonsense, as is some of what’s filling up the forums and social media. Hysterical over-reactions to events they can’t properly analyse.
Three times in four games we lost after we’d spurned enough chances to be out of sight.
In Germany we were the victims of a bad decision from our captain and an even worse one from our goalkeeper.
But we were still in the game until the 77th minute.
Last night, at home, as with the game against Madrid, we squandered plenty of chances at 0-0 and with 20 minutes to go you felt the frustration and gnawing apprehension. The players would have felt it too.
The hammer blows were struck in the latter stages of the game.
Had we scored and gone in front before they fell, we’d have taken points and the thing I want to think about today is that we created enough chances to have done exactly that.
I believe we were well capable of beating RB Leipzig.
I don’t believe they are an elite team, and I reckon had we taken the lead we’d have won home and away against them.
They had vulnerabilities we exploited easily.
But they kept a cool head when we didn’t, and when the manager talks about experience that’s what he’s referring to.
This has been a painful experience, but if you look beyond the pain – and ignore the efforts being made to turn the whole thing into an epic humiliation – you see mitigation for the results in the performances.
Not for one minute am I buying into the Ibrox claptrap that defeat makes you stronger. It doesn’t. It encourages you to get stronger … and that’s not the same thing.
One doesn’t automatically follow the other. I’ll talk about that later.
Those demanding that we rip it up and start again are, as I said yesterday, sometimes a little spoiled by domestic success and forget that we play football in the SPL: there are players in that RB team who will leave for larger fees than Ange’s entire transfer budget, and yet had we scored first I do believe we’d have beaten them last night and maybe even in Germany.
I’ll publish more of the Dark Days articles today.
To find the solution to a problem you first have to identify what the problem actually is.
We can either conclude that we’re doing everything wrong or that it’s just a handful of things that aren’t falling our way. I do not believe we’re doing everything wrong. I do not believe that the table is an accurate reflection of what we’re finding out.
And I don’t for one second even consider that our “historical results” ought to be debated and discussed as if they are the fault of this manager and his team. They aren’t.
This team should be judged solely on what it does or does not do.
Right now, we’re not where we want to be.
Getting there requires sober reflection, not knee-jerk reactions.