Convincing. Clinical. Ruthless.
That was Celtic yesterday at Parkhead, turning in a performance so good and polished and strong that the match was over at half-time and the second half was little more than a training exercise, albeit one in which we scored another twice.
It’s tempting to talk about individuals.
One individual above all, Reo Hatate, whose performance was like a masterclass in how to run a game. But this actually belonged to the team as a whole, the team and the coaches, who have gelled together now into something more resembling a machine than a collection of footballers, a machine that exists only to win games.
We’ve lost once during this campaign, a performance so out of character that few of us can look back and even fathom where it came from. Were St Mirren just incredibly good that day or were we just incredibly bad?
A bit of both? Or the football equivalent of a lightning strike?
For sure we have never seen anything close to it, far less a repeat performance.
This is the sort of form you want to take into a cup final, not just a team which is winning but one which is doing so in style.
Nobody at Celtic has to talk about being pleased by the football being played whilst also looking like someone casting around to make sure the police aren’t coming.
If the Mooch was really happy with a game in which they scored the first from the spot, the second from a free kick late in the game when they looked knackered and which also resulted in a red card for the home side that’s his lookout but there will not be the least mercy shown to him or his team.
Results don’t ever tell the full story of how a team is playing and I’ve said for weeks now that this is not a good Ibrox side far less one that is playing on our level.
Ibrox has been held up as the proof that they can match us; we were off-form that day and still got the point we needed, so you tell me which team got out of that one looking good? It wasn’t theirs.
The cup final will change the way people think and talk about these two teams.
I firmly believe that we’re going to burst The Mooch’s bubble.
The truth is, they are hanging onto our coat-tails but only just. Their results look good but the performances do not merit the hype, and that’s the difference between the two teams because ours do.