Coming in from the game the other night, my old man was pretty pissed off at us having nothing but another hard luck story.
He was so unimpressed that he didn’t think that’d we’d played well at all. I know what he means.
I have felt that way after games we’ve narrowly lost and need distance and time to gain perspective. He watched it yesterday morning and had a different take on the display; he wasn’t overjoyed or anything but he saw how good a lot of it was.
Last night we sat and watched the game in Cyprus with much merriment and laughter, and it was then that the full quality of our performance from Wednesday was most apparent, to both of us.
Because the gulf between the way we play and the way they do has never been as obvious as it is right now, and this before Brendan Rodgers has fully gelled this team.
We looked a different beast from them under Ange, of course, and we are not as dynamic as we were under the Aussie, not yet. But the regression in their team, from the new signings, is staggering, absolutely staggering.
Did Kent, Kamara, Sakala and Morelos and guys like that really give them so much more than this?
I always slated Kent but he’s a world beater compared to what they have right now. Kamara is head and shoulders better than the likes of Lundstram; that is an imposter, a guy pretending to be a player and who has somehow got away with it for years. And I thought Sakala was a very dangerous player and in the right team would have offered plenty.
Their replacements, that whole team, is appalling to watch.
Now, The Mooch was never a great manager.
I always found his football ideas to be amateurish and simplistic but God, this is much, much worse. Their long ball game has been figured out so readily that they look vulnerable against everyone. That defence, which was screaming out for reinforcements, has been so badly neglected it makes a junkies garden look well maintained.
They were dire last night, easily the worst I’ve seen them.
So many players in that team are simply nowhere near any standard which would even get into our squad. So many of them are a year older and slower and unable to do what they’ve done previously.
Others have quite plainly chucked it. There are so many weaknesses in that team that any new manager will be spoiled for choice as to where to start the rebuild, if indeed there’s money to do one.
We are a young, vibrant team who play possession football. Careful. Precise.
What I enjoyed most about these last few games, and even the win at Motherwell, was that we kept on doing that, we didn’t resort to long punts or hit and hope. We probed, we moved, we harried. The sophistication of our approach stands in complete contrast to their style; the football of the ash pitch or the public park. The antithesis of the Beautiful Game.
I cannot recall a time when the gap between their team and ours was this big.
If we get this lot at Celtic Park before there has been a dramatic improvement in their standards, and we’re even close to our best, we will give them a beating that leaves scars to last a lifetime.