SOCIAL media, as we have seen in the past few weeks, is not the place to visit if you are seeking sanity amid these tumultuous times.

Yet, a savage appraisal of Peter Lawwell’s reign as Celtic chief executive that popped up on Twitter last week was still startling.

A lengthy charge sheet listing the misdemeanours of Lawwell’s lengthy reign was posted by some anonymous laptop warrior - next to a photograph of the former Parkhead supremo with devil’s horns superimposed on top.

He blew 10-In-A-Row. He failed to qualify for the Champions League four seasons running. He cost the Glasgow club millions of pounds of revenue. He squandered fortunes on sub-standard signings in the transfer market. He allowed Rangers to rise again. He single-handedly prevented modernisation. On and on it went.  

He was not to blame for the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, at the end of 2019. Nor is he responsible for the difficulties the United Kingdom has encountered since exiting the European Union. But only having 280 characters to play with maybe meant his accuser ran out of space. 

There was no mention of the nine years of domestic dominance, the four consecutive trebles, the three visits to the last 16 of Europe’s premier club competition, the 29 trophies, the construction of the training ground at Lennoxtown, the record-breaking sponsorship deals or the huge profits banked from player sales.

Everyone, of course, is entitled to express an opinion. Nobody in a position of authority at a football club can expect to be immune from criticism. Especially not one with the number of fans that Celtic have. And the 2020/21 campaign was certainly an unmitigated disaster. Still, it was a harsh summation of his 18 year tenure.

It did, though, reflect what a lot of supporters, rightly or wrongly, feel. Lawwell may have overseen a period of sustained success unprecedented in the 133 year history of the venerable Scottish institution. But among supporters there were widespread misgivings about the control he wielded and the commonly-held view that a completely different tack was required going forward.

Eyebrows were raised when it was announced back in January that Dominic McKay, the chief operating officer of Scottish Rugby, was set to succeed him. He had a marketing background, was a sailing enthusiast from Ayrshire and once admitted that his motto was “make a new friend every day”. 

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However, bringing in McKay was a move that many considered to be refreshing and much-needed. There was cautious optimism about what the future might bring despite a wretched trophyless season still being fresh in the memory. It did not last long. Just 72 days to be exact. 

His departure on Friday for “personal reasons” has suddenly led to the possibility that Michael Nicholson, the director of legal and football affairs who has stepped into the role on an interim basis and appointed to the board, could take over permanently.

Ian Bankier, the Celtic chairman, was pretty positive about the temporary replacement in the statement that was issued to the stock exchange. "Michael is an absolute team player and he will lead an experienced and talented team of executives and colleagues,” he said. “He has a solid grip on how to achieve our immediate and future objectives.”

Will appointing Nicholson, though, meet with the approval of the fanbase?  Will their paying customers be confident he will implement the sweeping changes they want to see? Will his long-term working relationship with Lawwell tarnish him? Will he be seen as his own man? Or will he simply be regarded as a yes man for an outdated regime?

Rumours have abounded that McKay’s predecessor has continued to exert influence on day-to-day goings-on in the East End since standing down. There is no substance to the speculation. But perception can be a powerful thing. 

Nicholson, a lawyer by profession, has been at Celtic for over eight years, initially as company secretary. He would have a far firmer grasp of both how the club functions as well as the vagaries of the football industry, not least the ins and outs of transfer dealings, than McKay did. He would understand the personalities and politics involved in the game in this country. He would, like Joe Hart, be a capable pair of hands.

At the same time, making him full-time chief executive risks provoking further disharmony at a time when the mood around Parkhead has lifted thanks to the style of football new manager Ange Postecoglou has the first team playing and the immediate impact made by summer acquisitions like Liel Abada, Kyogo Furuhashi and Hart. The prospect has not exactly been warmly welcomed online already.

The 45-year-old may very well prefer to remain out of the public eye. He could be forgiven for wanting a quiet life given the horrendous treatment meted out to those in high-profile positions, to Bankier, Lawwell, former manager Neil Lennon and major shareholder Dermot Desmond, in the past 12 months.

Whoever takes over, a successor must be found quickly and stability rapidly restored if the definite progress made in the recent weeks is to be sustained and more off-field disruption avoided.