Celtic’s nightmare of a week got worse last night when they lost more ground on league leaders Rangers, drawing 1-1 at home to Hibs.
Granted, there has been little for the fans to shout about on the pitch as well as off it, but at least the game was an escape from the constant bad press and debate that has followed the Dubai trip.
Fans were excited to see some fringe players get their chance to shine – after all, they could not be much worse than some of the senior players have been this season.
And they got their wish when Cameron Harper was handed a start, as well as Karamoko Dembele and Armstrong Oko-Flex who appeared as subs later on in the game.
But, the fans were brought crashing back down to earth with the performance.
It was the typical Celtic performance this season, where they dominated possession but rarely looked like a genuine threat.
A moment of magic from a David Turnbull free kick looked to be enough to clinch all three points, until the inevitable happened; they conceded a sloppy goal, from a set piece in injury time.
Keeper Hazard flapped at a cross resulting from a free kick, with the ball dropping to Hibs’ striker Kevin Nisbet who lifted it over the defenders’ heads into the net from six yards out.
Fans on Twitter were disgusted, and rightly so.
They now find themselves with an incredibly slim chance of winning the league title, and even the most die-hard Celtic fans seem to have given up hope.
They have watched the players jet out to Dubai while they sat at home and followed regulations, had to look at leaked photos of the squad having a drink and a laugh, after losing an Old Firm to go nineteen points behind before the Hibs game.
‘Sack the board’ banners made their first appearance in roughly six weeks, as Celtic fans lamented their status.
Twitter user @adthelad57 said: “Had the chance to sack the staff after Ferencvaros, after the Rangers game in October. After the Prague games, after the Ross County game. But no. It’s mid January and we are 21 points behind thanks to a shocking board.”
Another fan simply said “Sack the board.” Short, simple and straight to the point.
A club statement was released claiming to be following protocol in Dubai despite photos emerging online allegedly showing a different scenario.
One fan (@jamie67_) touched on the board’s frustrating refusal to take any personal accountability –
“Wonder if the board will even stomach an apology to fans. Probably end up doubling down on their decision though.”
Now, as a Celtic fan I would love to be able to round this piece up with a touch of optimism, a glimmer of hope, something, anything to cling onto.
Unfortunately, I simply do not have it in me. Buckle in, it’s going to be a long five months.