The many of us who believe that our club is risking the next campaign by delaying the inevitable decision on the future of the manager are largely motivated by the idea that the next Celtic boss is going to need time to assess the team and what he needs to do in order to rebuild it.
Our operating theory is that the job is too big to throw someone into over the summer, expecting instant results.
The delay means we’ll spend too long trying to find the next boss, instead of having him ready when pre-season comes, and getting on with the job.
The truth is, though, that in one of the ways that matters most we’re already too late.
This was the window the new manager needed to approach our rebuilding in the most promising manner.
From the closure of this window the job of being a Celtic manager is going to become vastly more difficult from the perspective of assembling a squad.
We are at least a month too late to change that.
When we lost heavily at home to Prague and it became obvious that there were serious problems within our walls that’s when the axe should have fallen.
In squandering the time from then to now, we’ve already planted a bomb under the next manager’s feet, and there’s nothing we can do about it.
This is the last window where we will be operating under anything remotely like what we think of as “the current transfer system.”
In truth, that system has already been dismantled.
We’re in a Scotland specific one window exemption period, and even whilst that’s true it bears not the slightest resemblance to where we were before, just over a week ago, when we could target any player in Europe who fell within our price range.
Those days are over with, and probably for years.
This is what our summer looks like, at the moment; the search for a new manager running in tandem with major sales of key players.
By the time a new boss comes in, he will most likely be faced with a depleted squad.
He will have to replace those players under a restrictive transfer system which will not allow us to sign footballers who do not meet the criteria for a UK work-permit, which will be almost everyone who falls within the range of what we can afford.
There is absolutely no question that unless we’re shopping in the domestic market – Scotland, and in an ever more inflated English sphere – that we will be weaker, as a playing squad, than we are right now.
And we’ll be facing the rebuilding with a ticking clock in the background, and European qualifiers inching ever closer to us.
It is a potentially catastrophic situation, and our club seems almost scandalously lax in the face of it.
This is the window in which we had the best possible chance to put next season’s team in place; with no clear idea of who the manager is going to be that is now almost impossible, although I do believe there is one long-term signing we could make now, and should.
To set us on a new course would have taken courage on the part of our board.
It would have required honesty from them.
It would have required them accepting that the Lennon gamble has failed and the likliehood that the second Ibrox club will win its first title.
It would have been the bravest decision in the recent history of our club; it would also have been the right one.
If it had been made a month ago, then we could have sold key players in this window, with the caveat that now was the time because it provided us with the best opportunity to bring their replacements in.
The new manager would have had his own ideas about targets, and based on what was possible we could have made some of those moves.
Not all of them. This is a bad window for trying to rebuild a squad.
But we would have at least made a start, and under more favourable conditions than we will have to deal with in the summer, where to put it mildly, the options will be less promising.
The new regulations are going to be nearly impossible for a club like ours to work under. The players we’ve been able to sign, develop and sell on over the last couple of years would have been impossible to sign under those restrictions.
What’s worse is that any scouting lists we have will not be worth the price of toilet paper when this window closes, because any non-UK name on them will probably be out of our reach.
We supposedly re-organised scouting over the summer; frankly I wonder what the point of that was unless the re-structure is focussed mostly on scouring this island.
What’s clear is that we’ve already lost valuable time, and one major opportunity which we cannot get back.
It’s in the rear-view mirror.
Retaining the manager on the basis of a handful of wins is not only a bad judgement call, it is a risk of unfathomable stupidity because the odds against the gamble ending in anything other than failure are out of sight, and it’s not even in our own hands.
In some ways, the risk has already cost us.
In some ways, it’s already too late to avoid serious damage.