In the Celtic career of Ange Postecoglou, there is one obvious black spot, and the reason he is not part of that small group of Celtic bosses who has won a domestic treble.
That might come – I think it almost certainly will – but that we came so close last season will forever be a source of frustration to the man himself, particularly as it would have been our fifth grand slam in six years.
It would have shown up Lennon’s second season as a true aberration and even Ibrox fans would have had trouble seeing it clearly.
I was at Hampden that day and after Greg Taylor scored I thought we had won. The team evidently did too because that was the point they simply stopped playing football. We had been the better team up until then and suddenly it all went wrong.
I can’t adequately explain it. Ange tried to after the game and he put it down to the fatigue our players were feeling as we neared the end of a tough season. I thought that sounded reasonable and still do. I also thought it might be a consequence of some of these guys never having won major honours before, all but the League Cup.
Now this team are champions though, and nine points clear in this title race. We go to Hampden as clear favourites, with a place in a final up for grabs and if we win then I don’t really care who joins us there as I think we’ll use Hampden’s big wide open spaces to cause havoc.
But I always feel, whenever I visit that ground, that there are old ghosts lurking everywhere. I’ve had great days there and suffered some of my lowest moments as a fan there too. The 2002 Scottish Cup Final might be my worst memory of all save for the closing stages on Black Sunday. Starfelt’s deflection into the net will haunt me a long time.
I am sure a lot of Celtic’s players will feel the same aggrieved sense that last time they were here that something was snatched away from them, that they let themselves down that day. I hope they do. This team does not need such motivation, but it’s good at times to have it regardless because it will end at a stroke any prospect of complacency.
That’s why returning to Hampden will feel like returning to the scene of a crime. If Carter Vickers’ header goes in at 1-0 we’re home and dry and Ange is almost certainly a treble winner. So in part it was robbery.
But it was also a case of us just not doing enough and that’s a special kind of crime in and of itself.
Over our next two visits there they can restore the balance.