Today the next round of the Champions League was drawn, and of course we’re not there.
What’s worse is that we also know who plays who in the next European rounds of the other competitions and we won’t be in the Europa League or in the Conference League. The latter is no great loss, but we had expected a Europa berth at least.
It feels huge not to be part of European football after Christmas.
In some years – the Lennon finale – it would have looked like a disaster. It feels frustrating and disappointing, but it does not feel like a disaster. Because next season we’ll be back and do better.
How would we have done in the Europa League? That’s difficult to say.
Better, I think, much better than last term. We would have been a match for most of the sides in it. Which isn’t to say we’d have got to a final or anything, but we’d have made a splash.
So there is an element of frustration and envy as we watch the European draws being made. There is a feeling that having failed to prove ourselves worthy of qualification that it will be a long wait until the next European campaign kicks off.
Our seven-point lead in the league and the unfolding crisis at Ibrox means that there’s a very good chance that we will return to the Champions League Groups.
The tournament is the toughest proving ground in the business, but the manager believes that we belong there and that we should not be afraid to take our chances on that stage.
I think European football misses out without us after Christmas.
We play with a style that most clubs would love to be able to match. Our fans are fantastic and a true credit to the club and to this country, although you would not know it to read the media.
Our club represents something that much of European football has lost.
And that’s part of the reason for my regret that we’re not there, and although I know that we’ll be back on that stage soon enough it feels like an eternity away right now, although we’re riding high in Scotland and we’re competing for all the honours.