Callum McGregor sat in front of the media yesterday and declared that “(We’ve) done our preparations and we are just looking forward to the game.”
Two things are important to note there.
The first is “preparations.” Recall what I wrote yesterday about Sun Tzu. Every battle is won before it’s fought. It’s won in the strategy, the tactics … the preparations.
And look at the second thing; “we are just looking forward to the game.” Looking forward implies a quiet confidence. There are no nerves. The players know their roles, they know the objectives, they know they have beaten this lot already and well.
At this point there is no need to brag or play silly little head games.
None of that matters. Nobody has to talk this team up. Nobody has to bolster its confidence. Nobody has to give them an extra incentive. Everyone is ready. Everyone is up for it.
There is no pressure. Why should there be? Nobody is feeling stressed, and I understand why. What is there to be stressed about? The team and the management team have done all they can for now. The players will spend today relaxing and tomorrow they’ll do their jobs as they have this whole season. The key thing is that they’re as ready as they can be.
All the pressure is on the other side of the city. All the fear and all the doubt are over the way. Whatever their preparations have been like, there is an undercurrent of arrogance and presumption over there which does not exist on the Celtic side.
There has been a relentless discipline to our club for the whole of this campaign, and it continues now into the final weeks and it was exemplified by McGregor and the manager yesterday who were calm and ordered and rational and talked sense.
There is a sort of settled calm over the whole club, including the supporters, and which is completely absent when you look across the city. Tellingly, they are far more concerned with what a Celtic win tomorrow would mean for us rather than what it would mean for them, and that kind of bizarre focus runs through everything that they do.
This is why we’re so relaxed about it and they aren’t.
This is why we’ve got a psychological advantage over them even without taking into account our strengths as a team compared to theirs
. Don’t underestimate these things.
We have spent the week preparing, they’ve spent the week obsessing about past grievances, both real and imagined.
We’re ready. Are they? Tomorrow we’ll find out.