Last night is going to hurt. Brendan will hurt, as will the players. As far as our European objectives for this season are concerned – remain involved beyond Christmas – it is close to meaningless, but it will not feel that way.
The players need to make that hurt work for them. Two weeks today, they face Anderlecht. The unpleasant taste of defeat should remain on the taste buds when we take the field in Brussels. This is our opportunity to cleanse the palate. Bottle the hurt, don’t let it escape, let the mood remain sombre.
Use it as a embryo of growth. Be sharper, fitter, more alert and clinical. Take the positives from last night, and there were some, and build on them.
Competitive football is ruthless. Players who reach the Champions League have all filtered through hundreds of iterations of selection and rejection. Last night will have brought the spectre of rejection closer to home than any of them experienced during the Invincible Experience.
If they perform as they can, they will win in Brussels. Do that, and they will justifiably feel better about their place in the great football food chain.
Spare a thought today for others who delighted in our demise last night. The morning after is when they will have realised that defeat just means we redouble our efforts to improve.
Oh, and the pitch invader: sue him for whatever fine Uefa impose. It was a mindless attempted assault. The reputational damage to Celtic fans from this type of action is incalculable, which the club must show concern for. The consequences are never appropriately served on the offender. Let them act with apparent impunity (a ban is irrelevant to some) and you let them cause real damage the reputation of Celtic fans.
Win tickets for Ibrox
Celtic sponsor, Intelligent Car Leasing, have given us two tickets for the visit to Ibrox on 23 September to raffle for Mary’s Meals. You know the script:
Over 3,000 children in Malawi and Liberia eat a school meal each day because of the money raised by CQN’ers.
You are improving lives, educating a generation in some of the most deprived locations in the world. School attendance has increased an average of 30%, literacy and numeracy skills improve. Life-long opportunities are enhanced.
To enter the raffle, answer this question:
Which Belgian team will Celtic face in this season’s Champions League?
Please donate a minimum of £5 to this MyDonate page. Then forward your confirmation email with your answer in the SUBJECT LINE to firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks to you and Intelligent Car Leasing.
NEW CQN PODCAST OUT NOW, BEHIND THE SCENES AT HAMILTON v CELTIC WITH BT SPORT AND AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS SUTTON – LISTEN BELOW