It's fair to say we're not really where we want to be right now. The league campaign has gone anything but smoothly so far, with our new signings mostly suffering from a lack of form, fitness, or ability to play football, and some players failing to smoothly make the step up to the top flight. It's not been a total disaster, but many fans have already abandoned all hope of challenging Celtic this season and been forced to re-adjust their ambitions. It has been tough.
Yet all is not yet lost. "The Gap" may be laid bare, but we still look far superior to the rest of the league. Tonight's game against St Johnstone starts a run of five games, each of which there can be absolutely no excuse for losing. We'll be at home against Tommy Wright's admittedly solid outfit, before also welcoming Kilmarnock to Ibrox. Then it's a trip to the pretty awful Ross County, before taking on Dundee at home and finishing with a trip to Partick Thistle.
Of course, while there may be no excuse for losing any of these games individually, slip-ups do happen. However, we've had quite a lot as it is, and can't afford too many more. When we put the question of how many points it was reasonable to deem an acceptable minimum from these fixtures, a majority insisted that it was the maximum fifteen points.
Next 5 games:— Battle Fever (@BattleFeverOn) October 25, 2016
St Johnstone (H)
Ross County (A)
Minimum acceptable points?
That could put us in a far better position, something closer to where we expected we might be at the end of November when the season kicked off. No doubt even some normally optimistic Bears will have switched their glances at the fixture list away from Parkhead and towards Pittodrie and Tynecastle, but Celtic do have a comparatively tricky run. Let's not go too far into hypotheticals, but their league fixtures in the same period are: back-to-back lengthy away trips to Ross County and Aberdeen, before taking on Inverness after not having a full week's rest for a good long while. Then away to Killie.
If you're still refusing to countenance such wild hubris, then consider Aberdeen - having just lost to Hamilton, they next face Celtic, before taking on Partick away and then a tricky jaunt to Inverness. Hearts also have to make that trip to the Highlands to take on Richie Foran's men just three days after tonight's away fixture at Kilmarnock. Even if Celtic keep up their form, it's hard to see our 'rivals' for second place coming out of this period unscathed.
And what happens after? Well, the 30th of November up until Judgement Hogmanay will see us take on a real packed period of huge games, facing Aberdeen at Ibrox, Hearts home and away, and of course culminating against Celtic at Ibrox. All huge games, and our attitude going in is going to be dependent on this next month. Succeed, and we have a golden opportunity to nail down second or even reignite our title challenge. Fail, and we'll be in a terrible state, and the questions over Mark Warburton will begin to become very serious indeed.
So - over to you, boys. St Johnstone at Ibrox, which we should never fear, a pish Killie side at home, Liam Boyce and ten haggis-throwers, a woeful Dundee side at home and then a terrible Partick side away. Get them pumped, starting tonight.