As everything else crumbles around them, the prospect of a new manager arriving this summer is a small light at the end of the tunnel for Celtic.
The fact that Neil Lennon is still at work is almost miraculous, but even miracles have their limits, and once this season is over the Irishman will surely be eliminated.
This campaign was a disaster of epic proportions, and its scars would be felt decades later. They were in a season of immortality, but it’s halfway through January and it’s all gone to hell.
But while the task of collecting the coins isn’t enviable, it still has its appeal. Former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe is at the front of the line, if reports are to be believed.
This time a year ago, the idea that Howe could one day handle in Scotland would have seemed fanciful at best. Even after being sacked by Bournemouth this summer, it was believed he could make his pick of Premier League jobs. But over time his acting has cooled and a move to Parkhead for the former EFL Decade Director seems like an increasingly realistic prospect.
Of the two big questions that remain about its viability, one is fairly easy to answer.
Would be interested? Of course he would.
Mark Burchill, who worked under Howe in Bournemouth, has essentially said the same, and the reasons are obvious. A massive club, which needs a top-down rebuild, with the platform to get it back to where it wants to be. Howe isn’t arrogant enough to rule out Celtic before seriously considering it.
The other question, however, is not that simple.
Would it be a good choice? Good…
At first glance, of course. He ticks most of the boxes. An exciting young manager? Check. Construction history from A to Z? Check. Long-term appointment? Check. Not Neil Lennon? Check, verify, verify and verify.
None of this, however, guarantees success. Because if Howe is a high-caliber coach with credentials that take him for granted, managing on both sides of the Old Firm division is like almost nothing else in football.
For the Celtic management course, you have to manage the pressure. No matter how well you do, you are never a bad result or two before you get put under the microscope. That’s why good managers like Ronny Deila have failed, while inexperienced coaches with the right mindset – like Steven Gerrard – have taken over.
There’s a big question mark over Howe, fresh off a year without a job after quitting a job so secure that even relegation hasn’t prompted the board to sack him.
He had won that, of course, by single-handedly taking Bournemouth from Ligue 1 to the Premier League and keeping them there. He would need to quickly learn how to operate without that security: something he can appreciate, but maybe not prepared.
He would need to prove, and prove quickly, that he can adapt steadily to winning trophies. And it’s a lot harder than it looks… even at Celtic.
Still, just because he hasn’t proven he has the fierce mentality for the top job at Parkhead doesn’t mean he’s missing it. Brendan Rodgers was a smash hit although he never won a trophy until he moved to Glasgow, and you could argue that enduring silverware in Bournemouth was never in question.
Howe might have something about him that only a job like Celtic could unlock.
All in all, then, many would tell them that this is a risk worth taking. But it’s up to the Parkhead board to make the call.
Misunderstood? They’re back where they started a year later, as the Rangers continue to pull back.
Are you right? Well, 2021/22 could be the most memorable season in the SPFL era.