Scottish sport comment: It has been a week in Scottish football that will live long in the memory for the best and worst of reasons.
There was euphoria and despair in equal measure with newspapers and broadcasters unsure which mood should prevail.
That Celtic had beaten Barcelona — perhaps the most exulted football team in the history of the game — was a wonder to behold, yet news suggesting Heart of Midlothian are teetering close to the financial abyss more than tempered the joy.
In truth both events could be spotted on the horizon for those willing to read the runes.
Celtic put in a wonderful display of organisation and opportunity under the floodlights at Parkhead seven days ago, a carbon copy of the tactics which so nearly yielded points in the first match in Catalonia last month.
Celtic Park, glorying in 125th anniversary celebrations, was some sight and conjured an atmosphere to make even the great Xavi go weak at the knees.
“The fans, the people, how they support their team,” he said.
“It is an example for every team.”
There has also been much eulogising in the wider British press about the Hoops and their manager Neil Lennon in the days after what amounted to their greatest result since winning the European Cup back in 1967.
Mere mention of the Lisbon Lions requires pause for thought.
Yes, victory meant Celtic have done what only Real Madrid have also managed so far this season, but it will not be lost on Lennon or the fans that to really be measured with the best they must be more than workmanlike at the back and cute on the break.
The real target in the longer term, despite the financial climate, is to match the supreme tiki-taka style of Barcelona — or whomever else may stand in their way — with their own brand of enthralling football, just as when Celtic was a byword for the destruction of the detested catenaccio system more than four decades ago.
Their Euro adventures are also taking something of a toll on the Bhoys and their 1-1 draw with St Johnstone on Sunday now sees Hibernian sit atop the SPL, a fact unlikely to salve the ongoing aches of Hearts fans.
The coming days will be instrumental for the Tynecastle club as they race to find the cash needed to meet a £450,000 tax bill amid dire warnings about going bust before their match this weekend against St Mirren.
A club statement spelled out their predicament warning: “This isn’t a bluff.”
Yet understandably fans have remained wary about putting more money into the hands of Vladimir Romanov, the very man they blame for the current mess.
The support is fairly fed up of the Lithuanian, who’s been at the helm for the past seven years.
They have seen managers and players come and go on a whim, and more recently late payment of staff by a distant owner with little, if any, hands-on presence at a club now drifting on a sea of unsettled accounts.
Strange times indeed and getting stranger since Hearts have thrown out a rather cynical take-it-or-leave-it offer from Rangers to provide them with £500,000 of the £800,000 owed for Lee Wallace and David Templeton.
The rejection of such a deal has surprised some but it may indicate that there are serious donors in the pipeline, or suggest that supporters are putting their hands in their pockets and that Romanov — whose personal wealth is put in the region of £250 million — will do the rest to settle with HMRC.
Time will very soon tell.
Rangers supporters will be delighted by the news that their old gaffer Walter Smith is returning to Ibrox as a non-executive board member.
It’s an interesting development bearing in mind that just five months ago Smith led a bid to buyout Charles Green and co before their feet were barely up the marble staircase.
Green needs a figure lauded among the Ibrox legions since he is trying to persuade them to buy up £20 million worth of shares.
Having a man who put 21 trophies in the Blue Room onside is no doubt intended to send a clear signal to investors of all sizes that the current board are serious about rebuilding the Rangers brand.
Still, there are inherent risks, something the 63-year-old Smith himself alluded to on his return, pointing out that he will “not be playing any role in the day-to-day running of the club or the team.”
Ally McCoist will be pleased to hear it — but if things get sticky, he may still feel the eyes of his illustrious predecessor burning into his back from high in the stands.
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