For a short time yesterday, the Ibrox forums buzzed with that most seductive feeling of all; hope.
It started to grow around 80 minutes, when the countdown clock started ticking on our match at Aberdeen.
They didn’t want to feel it, because they’ve been disappointed before, but you can tell reading back over the posts that in spite of themselves it had crept into their thoughts and their hearts.
It lasted six minutes, and then we snatched it away.
In the aftermath, they cursed themselves and each other for ever having indulged the thought in the first place. And oh, how we laughed.
Time and again this season they have let themselves be lulled like this, done up like a love-struck guy who keeps going back to the woman who has robbed him blind and slept with all his mates. They fall for the same thing over and over again … and every time there is the same disbelief, mostly that they could ever have been so stupid.
This must be killing them.
There were some of them who were mentally counting points; “two dropped today and Easter Road to visit. By the time they come to Ibrox the gap might be down to four or less … we might even have the chance to go top.”
Six minutes later there was the cold fury and the self-loathing.
It’s glorious to read this stuff, glorious to see the outburst of optimism only for it to be crushed.
Eventually, it will be.
Perhaps at Ibrox where, if we win, we can amp up their pain and suffering for a day but the following day allow them the knowledge that there will be no more of it for this league campaign. Perhaps it will come in midweek, if they drop something at the ground we won at today and if we take care of business against Livingston.
Perhaps it will be sometime next year, when we finally hit the point of mathematical certainty … the only certainty we have is that it will come, at some point, and that until it does we’re waiting and they are clinging on to it with their fingers.