You will remember Roy Keane getting all up himself after Celtic celebrated Champions League qualification as though it was something important. Roy’s ability to apply perspective isn’t all it should be.
The Champions League presents levels of success. Lincoln Red Imps achieved theirs this season, as did Celtic. As we look forward to the quarter finals, which begin tonight, Monaco are a different type of winner.
In the round of 16, Atletico beat Bayer Leverkusen, Juventus beat Porto, Barcelona beat PSG, Bayern Munich beat the living daylights out of Arsenal, Real Madrid beat Napoli and Leicester beat Sevilla. All these victors, including apparent underdog, Leicester, are richer than the teams they eliminated. Only Monaco, who beat Manchester City, won against the money.
It’s not easy to congratulate tax haven-based millionaires on succeeding despite being relatively impoverished, so we’ll perhaps withhold our joy, but Monaco’s win was the Champions League’s sole instance in the last round of an outcome which was not significantly determined by finance.
What you are unlikely to hear from those happy to disparate Scottish football as an uncompetitive environment, where outcomes are overwhelmingly determined by the richest club’s money, is that our domestic game resembles the elite competition in this very respect.
This is modern football, in fact, it is increasingly elite team sport across the globe. We can get all misty-eyed for days of yore, when 12 different English teams who the league in 14 years, or 11 guys from a 30 mile radius climbed the highest peak, but the future of sport looks entirely different.
You, me and Lincoln Red Imps fans know our level. I suspect we all know where the net ceiling which prevents us moving too high up the food chain lies. We can and should always plot, scheme and dream of bursting free, but knowledge of our place in the game has value. It grounds us in reality, where surely our dreams do not become fantasies?
Remember the Celtic Disabled Supporters’ Association, Dinner Dance, at the Kerrydale Suiteon Friday 21st April. All are welcome.
After the meal there is entertainment from Foggy Dew, with Jim Craig, Bertie Auld, Tom Boyd and more. Tickets are £25 each and are available from firstname.lastname@example.org 07514-059870 (office hours).