IT’S like rain, on your wedding day. A free ride, when you’re already there. Or protesting for your club’s manager to be sacked, only to further secure his position.

A grasp of irony is perhaps beyond some of those who caused the violent scenes outside Celtic Park on Sunday, but the clashes between angry fans and police outside the stadium after the defeat to Ross County seem only to have achieved the entrenchment of Dermot Desmond and Peter Lawwell’s position that Neil Lennon should remain the manager of Celtic.

As the full-time whistle sounded at teatime on Sunday, the prospect of Lennon still being the Celtic boss on Monday morning seemed remote at best. Yet, here we are, almost two days later, and he is preparing to board a flight to Milan with his players.

Had there not been a global pandemic, and had Glasgow not been in Tier 4 of the Scottish Government’s Coronavirus restrictions, then a large gathering of disgruntled supporters outside Celtic Park would have been entirely understandable, and certainly no surprise given the run that the team are on.

In the current context though it was shocking to see, and that was particularly so when anger spilled over into violence.

What should not be lost in the justified castigation of these individuals though is that they were simply the unacceptable manifestation of an anger that has been building among the wider Celtic support for some weeks and even months now.

There can be no condoning the scenes witness outside Celtic Park at the weekend, but neither should these fans be held up as proof that Celtic supporters are uniquely hysterical and wrong to question the leadership of the club as they watch the worst run of home form since the 1950s.

These fans, after all, have refused refunds for season tickets on a fixture list that was never fulfilled. They have shelled out hundreds on season tickets for a campaign where the closest they will get to the action is via Celtic TV. They, like any other support, are therefore entitled to be passionate and indeed angry about the direction of their club.

So, as well as perhaps firming up Lennon’s job security, the violent protests may also have provided an easy deflection tactic away from the real issues that are concerning the wider fanbase.

Still, that incident has come and gone. For Celtic, so too has the Champions League, the Europa League and even the Betfred Cup. The question now is what comes next if the rare chance of securing a tenth league title in succession – a feat that is also entering precarious territory - isn’t to also pass them by.

It is an unseemly business to be discussing possible managerial candidates for a position that isn’t yet vacant. Particularly when the man in position is of such standing among Celtic supporters as Neil Lennon is. That a large section of them are voicing such displeasure towards him in spite of that though may well be very telling.

If Celtic do decide to put Lennon out of his recent misery, it is perhaps then that the real dilemma begins for the club’s board. They would no doubt clearly love to make an appointment that would be to the short-term benefit of the club in terms of achieving 10 in-a-row as well as being to the long-term benefit of the club in terms of its development, but those aims seem impossible to simultaneously achieve at this stage.

If the bookmakers are anything to go by (and while you may struggle to find a poor one, the next manager market is one area where they generally aren’t), then the quick fix appointment of former manager Gordon Strachan is imminent.

That may well happen, but it seems counter-intuitive to replace one manager who may reasonably be deemed as ‘old school’ with another cut from similar cloth. If the perception from fans is that the players have stopped playing for Lennon due to his outdated methods and lack of faith in things like sports science, then they are unlikely to suddenly rediscover their mojo if a similar figure walks back through the doors of Lennoxtown.

That perception of both men has always been somewhat harsh, but in any case, the appointment of 63-year-old Strachan, currently Technical Director at Dundee having not been in the dugout since leaving the Scotland job by mutual consent back in 2017, will hardly restore faith in Celtic’s managerial recruitment process.

Indeed, that ‘process’ has been undermined ever since chief executive Peter Lawwell appointed Lennon in a pique of euphoria in the Hampden showers after Celtic’s Scottish Cup final win over Hearts. Even if an exhaustive search had taken place and Lennon was the man he favoured, the optics of appointing Lennon in such a manner did nothing for his own credibility and provided plenty of ammunition for Lennon’s doubters.

So, if Lawwell is to regain the trust of the Celtic faithful, he has to be seen to be making these major decisions for the direction of the club in a considered fashion. Perhaps it is why there has been no knee-jerk move to sack Lennon in the first place.

When the time comes to appoint the next manager, whether that is this week, next summer or years from now, the perception has to be that a major organisation like Celtic has conducted itself as such when it comes to filling perhaps the most important role at the club.

That is why Lawwell and Celtic as a whole need to release themselves from the shackle of ‘The Ten’, which has become as much a millstone as a milestone. The chance to secure a place in history by achieving the feat has to be balanced against the long-term interests of Celtic, and if the right man to take the club into the future is available when the time comes to choose a new manager, then that is the way that Celtic should go.

Eddie Howe is a name that has never gone away in the chatter around the next Celtic boss, and his more modern approach is one that would likely find favour with supporters. He would be viewed in a similar mould as Brendan Rodgers, and he may see Celtic as a useful vehicle to rehabilitate his own career after leaving Bournemouth, as Rodgers did after leaving Liverpool.

What is paramount though is that 10 in-a-row should not be the major consideration when it comes to deciding who the man in the Celtic dugout should be.

If the board believe that Lennon is the man to lead Celtic in the long term, then they should come out and say it and remove all doubt. If not, then they should consider more than just this season’s league title when it comes to replacing him.