An upbeat Neil Lennon interview looked a ridiculous notion when the half-time whistle blew on Celtic's defeat to Milan.
For the second time in a week, his side were lifeless in attack and haphazard in defence.
Trailing the Serie A leaders 2-0, any sign of a reaction to a derby sickener against Rangers was scarce.
But although Celtic failed to overturn the deficit and avoid an opening night Europa League defeat, Lennon saw enough in his side's second-half display to cut an optimistic figure in front of the press.
His team were markedly improved after the interval, but what exactly did the manager take from it?
Rogic offers a glimpse
It wasn't so long ago the Aussie looked bound for the exit door, his place in Celtic folklore already secure but not to be enhanced further with a starring role in this potential Ten In A Row campaign.
No deal could be agreed with a mysterious Qatari suitor but Tom Rogic has remained firmly in the Parkhead shadows since.
It's perhaps indicative of where Celtic are at the moment - hoping for a spark - that his second-half cameo sparked the excitement it did. Rogic was undoubtedly both hungry and effective when he emerged from the bench against Milan but caution must be exercised over a player who has flattered to deceive for some time.
The playmaker has certainly enjoyed playing against Aberdeen down the years and, at Pittodrie on Sunday, we could receive further indication of whether he's back for good.
Ntcham comes to life
The clamour for the Frenchman to be inserted into the starting line-up was overwhelming at the start of the season but he remains somewhat of an enigma.
There's no question over his talent and although the "lazy" tag he's sometimes forced to field is, in itself, lazy, consistency does seem to elude Ntcham.
That being said, he came to life when Scott Brown was subbed on Thursday night, something which didn't go unnoticed among fans.
But Lennon is unlikely to leave his captain out too often, on current evidence, so a Brown-less midfield is not a luxury Ntcham is likely to be often afforded.
Moi's confidence booster
On the whole, it didn't quite happen for the Norwegian when he clambered off the bench for a second-half rescue mission, but a neatly taken header could well change that.
Securing the services of the £16million Southampton star on-loan for another season looked a shrewd bit of business but he's another who hasn't quite sparked so far this campaign.
There were, however, questions over how Elyounoussi would fit into the 3-5-2 shape and that's looked justified in recent weeks.
Mind you, he's played off the left, in the number 10 role and as a second striker, so it's difficult to be overly critical of a player who isn't being afforded the chance to find a settled position.
A return to 4-2-3-1 could be what he needs to flourish again.
Celtic's defeat to Rangers was characterised by a general lack of impetus all over the pitch that allowed Steven Gerrard's side to keep their rivals comfortably at arms length for 90 minutes.
Christie has frustrated Celtic fans at times this season with one too many shots finding their way high into empty stands, but his return injected energy into an lethargic attack that had failed to lay a glove on Milan.
The Italians appeared taken aback by the sudden upturn in tempo after the interval and Christie was at the heart of that.
He linked well with Rogic and Elyounoussi, delivering a pinpoint cross for the latter to head home.
Expect him to start at his old stomping ground on Sunday.
Ajer comes alive
The Norwegian international has been one of many players struggling for his best form this season but he rediscovered something on Thursday night.
Milan have been tracking him for over 12 months and his display against the Rossoneri shows exactly why he is rightly on the radar of the Serie A league leaders.
He was combative and alert and a couple of his all or nothing challenges would have had 60,000 fans on their feet if times were different.
Shane Duffy is toiling but Ajer, at his best, offers something different and his desire to take risks is exactly what Celtic need now. There is no time to play it safe
He doesn't always get it right but that type of display is what's needed as the big games keep coming.