Celtic’s start to the Premiership season – losing 2-1 to Hearts at Tynecastle – was one you could see coming.
The manner of the defeat – dominating possession, but not doing too much with it before conceding from a set-piece late on – will be something which is of clear concern to new Parkhead boss Ange Postecoglou.
Following their Champions League qualifying exit in midweek, it was another chapter in a puzzling period for the dethroned nine-in-a-row champions.
You could see Celtic’s deterioration last season under Neil Lennon and, following his delayed axeing, they procrastinated for such a long time with coach John Kennedy in interim charge.
The failed public pursuit of Eddie Howe over the summer, letting everyone know he was their main target, was the next wrong move. Then, when high-profile ex-Premier League boss Howe turned them down, they had to scramble around for someone else.
Postecoglou may have pedigree elsewhere in the world, but he wasn’t a household name here and his job has been made harder by the decision to bring him to Parkhead without any of his own support staff. He is instead having to work within the previous structure, which failed under Lennon.
There’s also been their reluctance to enter the transfer market in a big way, leaving their squad under-prepared for the new campaign, with young, inexperienced players in the side – it comes as no surprise they’ve got off to a sticky start.
The kick in the teeth on Saturday at Tynecastle was of course watching Craig Gordon pull off two wonder saves in the final moments to deny the Hoops a point.
They themselves haven’t had a goalkeeper who has truly had the faith of the defence since they let Gordon go in 2020.
Postecoglou clearly has a huge task on his hands in the coming months, as any ambitions of overhauling Rangers at the top of the Premiership this season appear, as things stand, to be pipe dreams. The hierarchy at the club, like new chief executive Dominic Mckay, need to start recruiting now.
The Celtic fans won’t tolerate another huge gulf between the Parkhead side and their city rivals again this term – and they will either make the stadium a very difficult place for those responsible or they’ll vote with their feet.