If you listened really carefully at quarter past eight on Tuesday night you might have heard Ibrox fans sniggering, as many were feeling a slight stab of vindication. So the team that annihilated them on their own ground were a better side, after all, than the one that beat us but who knew they were in a game at Parkhead until very late in the day.
Or so they thought, in those first fifteen minutes. I wonder how many of them turned their TV’s off when Madrid scored the equaliser? Did any of them last until the third? The fourth? The fifth? Or was the leveller the moment they knew?
I’ve heard this theory of theirs that we played, and were beaten by, teams in decline. The Spanish “team in decline” were the holders of the competition, but that hardly mattered to these muppets who wanted to pretend that we were “embarrassed” in Madrid, when better sides than the champions of Scotland have been done over by that team.
The truth is, and we all knew it when they rolled into Ibrox, was that this Liverpool team is the one that’s in decline. Yet they almost casually swatted our Glasgow rivals away as though they were nothing but a minor irritation.
Then, on Tuesday, in a spell-binding second half, Real Madrid did the same to them. Who knew that the Spanish giants were a good side after all? Not the Ibrox fans, who were convinced that we had been given a football lesson from a bad team.
It shows how often some of them watch football, right?
Then last night, RB Leipzig more than held their own against Manchester City. Who knew that they were a pretty good team as well? All of us, actually, and we said so. I thought we might have the measure of them, but boy did we get them at the wrong time. Had we played them under the hapless management team who lost to the Ibrox club I am 100% certain that we’d have gotten a result at home and maybe even away from home as well.
But Marco Rose is a very good coach and it’s not for nothing that his appointment caused more than a little concern to shoot through the collective veins of the Celtic support. We knew he would shake that team up and give them a jolt, organising them into a winning style and one that would be a test for any European team.
You hoped that it took a while for his ideas to bed in. A forlorn hope as it turned out. Tedesco was a joke as coach. The 4-1 hammering they got from Donetsk, at home, saw him removed from the post, and it was if the whole team turned around overnight.
Sure, they lost the next Group game to Real Madrid, but we’ve talked about them already. After that, they beat us twice, then beat Madrid themselves and then went to the away game against Shakhtar and played them off the park, winning 4-0.
Yeah, Rose is a good manager and they are a good team and watching them last night as their brand of football gave Manchester City an almighty shock I remembered that night at Parkhead where we missed several chances and then conceded with a quarter hour left to find ourselves chasing it, and nine minutes later they got their second.
There aren’t any really easy teams at that level – except when the Ibrox club are in the tournament ha ha ha – but we were beaten, in the end, by two right good ones and so the real disappointment, and it’s a big one, is that we didn’t beat the Ukrainians either home or away … which really, there’s little excuse for when you look back on it.
We have to do better against the third tier team next season if we’re going to get anything at all for our troubles. But what looked like a reasonably kind draw wasn’t because Leipzig were a team almost totally transformed by the time we played them and they proved that last night in a brilliant display against the champions of England.