Celtic board can't afford another mistake
The Celtic board took the plaudits for previous good appointments, now they must accept the brickbats for hiring Tony Mowbray.
Neil Lennon is now in pole position for the Celtic job: a good run to the end of season and securing the Scottish Cup may be enough to land him the job permanently.
The Celtic board know Lennon's qualities well.
But how well did they know Mowbray before handing him the reins of one of football's most demanding jobs?
What was the recruitment process that saw them hire a manager from a club which he had relegated from the English Premier League?
Mowbray is a thoroughly decent man, but that isn't a pre-requisite of being a manager of a top club.
In the business world, psychometric testing and a battery of other measurements are used to objectively quantify a candidate's suitability for a top job.
So why did the Celtic board get this appointment so spectacularly wrong?
I was driving down to a match at Falkirk on a snow-driven, sleet-slinging day, watching three council workers, chilled to the bone, clearing the litter from the motorway embankments when I heard Tony Mowbray tell Sportsound listeners that he didn't enjoy managing Celtic.
Here were three guys working in gruelling conditions for a comparative pittance, while the manager of one of our great football clubs appeared to dismiss the privilege of managing a side renowned throughout the world.
From sombre media conferences to downbeat post match interviews, a picture was being painted of a man who would rather be anywhere else than in the Celtic hotseat.
So, why did the board get it so badly wrong and what will they do this time to get it right?
Chief Executive Peter Lawwell has done a sterling job over the years, building up the season book base and marketing the club.
Now though, attendances are sliding dramatically and those season books need to be renewed during a recession.
Celtic's football has been slapdash and uninspiring, not a recipe for luring the faithful back in numbers for next season.
The club's supporters have high expectations and they pay good money to have them fulfilled.
Dermot Desmond, John Reid and the chief executive now need to outline a vision for the Hoops fans which is not airy fairy or pie in the sky, but real and tangible.
Failure to do so will see Celtic fans asking why it's only the manager who has departed.
In football, it's not just the manager who is expected to deliver constantly; it also applies to the board.
The latest blog from Celtic Quick News asks many pertinent questions about the methodology of appointing a new manager and offers sound advice on some of the pitfalls to avoid.
The blog offers the following timely advice to the Celtic board: "There are important criteria to measure a candidate against: Does he improve players? Does he improve teams (Tony left Hibs where he found them, 8th in the table, and did the same with West Brom)?
"Can he cope playing in Europe as well as domestically? Each of the above are objectively verifiable. While they are not the only criteria we can use, they are the most important and should be considered deal-breakers."
The Celtic board could do worse than heed the advice of their own fans.
Had they appointed the right candidate last time round, and given him a respectable budget, they could have blown great rivals Rangers out of the water for the foreseeable future; in the process going on to ensure a Champions league berth.
Now they have to consider the albeit slim possibility, that third-placed Dundee United, a club with about a 15th of their budget, could pip them to second spot in the SPL.
Neil Lennon might well be the man for the job this time around, but the Celtic board owe it to the supporters to be rigorous in their approach to getting the right man.
Issues like being "Celtic-minded" shouldn't cut any ice in making the decision - that would be a bonus - but not crucial.
The Parkhead board have to get this one right or they too, like their newly-departed manager, will face serious questions from fans who will not be in a mood to forgive another poor appointment.