Winning is no longer enough. Ange Postecoglou has spelled it out quite clearly. Picking up the points goes only part of the way towards this team meeting his standards.
For most fans, of most clubs, and for most managers too, and especially in Scotland, the points are all that count and if the football is good, well that’s a side issue as far as they’re concerned.
But Ange knows what the true great managers do; it’s the football that matters because if you get that right then the points become the side issue because the points come naturally. If you’re not performing well and winning, then you’re just waiting to get to the bad day which ends your run. It’s going to happen to the Ibrox club. Nothing surer.
But if you go into every game wanting to put on a show then the points are easily to come by and you will find yourself sitting pretty at the top of the league.
This team owes us a game like that. It owes us a big performance, a flashy, showboating victory which leaves a hapless opponent eating dust.
I’d happily save it for Ibrox, but I’m greedy and I want both.
More than us, it owes the manager that and he made it very plain when he spoke after the midweek game against Livingston that he regards the performance as severely lacking. He wants us to play better. He wants us to kill opponents off. He recognises that if we go to Easter Road and Ibrox without our shooting boots on that we’re asking for trouble.
The best bits of football we played against Aberdeen and Livingston were when we played the pass-and-run moves on which this manager built his reputation. You could see that every time we did it we carved them open. The poor finishing was why we didn’t rack up the goals, but there really wasn’t enough of that passing and running either.
That’s something else he is right to demand more of; it’s the whole essence of “we never stop”, the philosophy on which this team is constructed. When we play that way no side in Scotland has any kind of answer for us. Ange is right to demand it.
So today that’s the important bit.
The performance has to be the focus both during and after the match.
And yes, we’ll all be satisfied with the three points … but happy with them, that’s a different thing, and it’s the manager himself who has crystalized the difference.