Football is an emotional game, we all know that. And emotions can run high at times, particularly after your team loses, and more so if they’ve performed poorly in a game they’re expected to win!
That’s where perspective comes in to play.
Like every other Celtic fan, I was hugely disappointed with the way the Bhoys played against Anderlecht in our final group match of the Champions League on Tuesday night at Celtic Park.
Losing 1-0 to a Jozo Simunovic own goal was bad enough, but the Hoops just didn’t look like a team capable of drawing or winning the game. Several players were well below par, I’m not going to start naming them, that for me is pointless.
Players do have off days, and if we cast our minds back just a few weeks, the same players getting slaughtered these past two days are the one that played so well against Bayern Munich. That performance was the standard we, the fans, manager and players want to see in every game.
And in some way, that may have contributed to the level of disappointment on Tuesday evening. Knowing we can play at that higher level.
Or maybe the four games in nine days, including a Cup Final and an opponent who would rather kick you than play football, played a part? Who knows?
Anyway, as the disappointment subsides, we should look at the positives of our Champions League campaign. Our aim at the start of July was to qualify for the group stages. We did that. Fate dealt us another blow though, as we were put into pot four for the group draw. We had hope to get into pot three.
The draw itself landed us in with mega-money PSG and German giants, Bayern Munich, two teams with aspirations of winning the cup with the big ears. Any hopes we might have of staying in Europe would depend on who came out of pot three.
Belgian champions Anderlecht were to come out as our third opponents in our group. They were to be the target for our Europa League place. That wouldn’t be as easy as many thought, the team from Brussels only lost out to an extra-time goal in last season’s Europa league quarter final, to eventual winners Manchester United.
Despite the media view, they were no mugs, with a good recent European pedigree.
Now we all know how the group panned out, two heavy defeats home and away to PSG, a loss in Munich and narrow defeat in Glasgow to Bayern, and a win in Belgium by 3-0 followed by Tuesday’s 1-0 loss.
Three points from out six games was enough to put us into Monday’s draw for the Europa League last 32, and European football after the New Year.
That was our aim when the draw was made. And we achieved it.
And contrary to the misinformed English media, we didn’t qualify with the least points, Borussia Dortmund only reached two points, and our defeat in Paris wasn’t the worst of the Champions League campaign, Liverpool twice scored seven, against Maribor and Spartak Moscow.
Once again their ignorance knows no bounds.
Last but not least, Celtic have played twelve matches in this season’s Champions League. We were the only team to come through the champions route to actually record a win. That 3-0 in Brussels was a lot more significant than most of us thought…