“Celtic have bought players for millions of pounds. They have players whose weekly salary would be the salary of our entire squad,” reflects Christophe Berra.
While football is played on grass, not a balance sheet, the Raith Rovers veteran concisely underlines the mountainous task the Fifers undertook on Thursday evening.
In the end, class told.
Jota, a Portuguese under-21 internationalist on loan from European giants Benfica, was irrepressible.
Liel Abada, a £3.5 million signing at the age of 19, rippled the net for the fifth time already this season.
David Turnbull, one of Scotland’s brightest talents, converted a sumptuous curling strike.
And although Berra has the experience and expertise to identify the minor errors which let Rovers down on the night, he was far from down-beat.
It was a learning curve for several talented youngsters and a night which could yet fuel Raith’s promotion push.
A beauty of a curler from David Turnbull! 😍
Celtic in complete control of this quarter final now 🍀 pic.twitter.com/ZFit1DQlYS
— Premier Sports (@PremierSportsTV) September 23, 2021
“I’ve been to Celtic Park with better teams than Raith — no disrespect at all — and been hammered a lot worse than we were,” smiled the former Hearts and Scotland defender ruefully.
“It was always going to be a challenge. You look at their home record and they’ve scored umpteen goals and haven’t conceded many. We’re not daft.
“But we’re coming from the league below and we are striving to reach the Premiership. We’ll learn from this and move on.
“A lot of our boys have never played here before. They aspire to play at venues like this. We have a lot of youngsters who have a real chance of going up a level — whether at Raith Rovers or elsewhere — and this will have been invaluable.”
Berra, meanwhile, backed winger Dario Zanatta to bounce back from his second-half dismissal at Parkhead.
The Canadian under-20 internationalist — and another ex-Jambo — received quick-fire yellow cards for sloppy, niggling fouls, ensuring his evening ended after 59 minutes.
“Dario will look back and be disappointed,” acknowledged Berra. “It was two slack yellow cards.
“But that doesn’t change the fact Dario has been great for us. He has scored five goals and has been a real maverick for us.
“It’s part and parcel of football — he’s got a long career ahead of him and there will be those ups and downs.
“You’ve got to be thick-skinned and just get on with it.
“It’s another challenge for Dario to dust himself down and bounce back, and I’m sure he’ll do that.”