The pressure is on Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack and the club’s board to get their next managerial appointment right.
There can be no more rookie appointments. No more experiments.
The stakes are too high.
Aberdeen’s next appointment must be for the long haul as the club must not slide into a culture of chopping and changing managers like the late Nineties and early Noughties.
That brings instability, which very rarely leads to success.
An experienced manager with a proven track record of success must be appointed as Stephen Glass’ replacement.
Chairman Cormack and the board’s experiment in appointing Glass back-fired and he was axed after the 2-1 Scottish Cup loss at Motherwell.
St Mirren boss Jim Goodwin must surely be a candidate to replace Glass.
On a limited budget, Goodwin has worked wonders with the Paisley club.
Not only do his St Mirren team play attractive football, they are well organised and difficult to beat.
Goodwin also has an eye for sourcing talented young players and getting the best out of them.
Available immediately, however, would be former Celtic and Hibs boss Neil Lennon.
Lennon has a considerable track record of success as a manager in Scotland.
Jack Ross is another free agent after being dismissed by Hibernian, despite leading the club to the League Cup final earlier in the season.
Aberdeen board culpable for failure
Of course, Cormack and the board could opt for a left-field appointment.
But the blame for the dismal season cannot be laid solely on Glass.
Chairman Cormack and the board are also culpable as the club emerged weaker from the January transfer window.
That certainly did not help Glass’ cause.
The players also under-performed far too often and also have to hold their hands up for the season careering into crisis.
Many of the Aberdeen 2,022 Dons fans at Fir Park had made it patently clear at full-time that they wanted Glass out.
In the immediate aftermath of the cup exit, Glass remained defiant he could still turn around the team’s ailing fortunes and bring success to the club.
Out of both cups and languishing ninth in the table, he came out fighting and said he retained confidence in his own abilities and would never walk away.
Ultimately, that option was taken out of his hands.
Cormack was at Fir Park to witness not just the defeat, but the reaction of the supporters.
Supporters made their voice heard
The travelling Red Army vented their anger and frustration, making it patently clear they thought a managerial change was needed.
Aberdeen cannot afford to have a toxic relationship with supporters. Supporters are the ones that pay to watch games.
They are the ones who will choose to stay away if they are not happy with results, the manager, the board and the team.
Bright spots were too isolated under Glass, amid the increasing mediocrity.
There is an alarming deja vu as for a second year in succession as the Reds have slumped in form following a poor January transfer window, then, within weeks of the window closing, the manager has been axed.
Glass has been dismissed less than two weeks after the window closed and Derek McInnes was sacked on March 8 last year.
Lessons have not been learnt. Aberdeen have gone from having stability to instability in a year and it is a concern.
A season of regression for Aberdeen
This was billed as a season of success, continued improvement and exciting, attacking football.
Instead there has been regression.
Aberdeen’s board must move quickly to get the right man on board.
Time is of the essence as the Dons need wins now. The team are low on confidence and in a major slump.
If a new manager is not appointed quickly, Glass’ eventual successor could be facing a firefight against a potential relegation battle.
Unable to deliver two fundamentals
There can be the spin that European qualification is well within Aberdeen’s reach.
The Dons are only four points behind fourth-placed Dundee United and hold a game in hand, which they play against St Johnstone on Tuesday.
The problem is Aberdeen are not playing like a team that can push for Europe and are in freefall down the table.
You have to keep clean sheets and register away wins to have any aspirations of securing continental action.
Aberdeen have been unable to deliver both those fundamentals.
The Reds have registered only two wins in 15 on the road and five clean sheets in 34 matches in all competitions.
Motherwell marked the end of Glass’ managerial career at Pittodrie, but will it be the end of the atrocious run of form?
Aberdeen have the form of a team that will remain mired in the bottom six and the remainder of the season looks set to be torture for the club’s supporters.
The new manager will have to be a major, exciting appointment to reignite any hope into the season.
Euro bid or relegation battle?
The fear is the Dons’ situation could deteriorate further and they could be dragged into a relegation dogfight.
The Reds are just eight points above the relegation play off zone and 10 from the automatic relegation spot.
European qualification or flirting with a relegation battle? It is in Aberdeen’s hands and could go either way as the Premiership is so congested.
The appointment of Glass’ successor will be pivotal to which way the pendulum swings.
Aberdeen and Glass suffered a similar crisis in October when suffering a run of 10 wins without victory, the club’s worst form since 2010.
Cormack and the board then needed to back him in the January transfer window by strengthening the squad significantly. That didn’t happen.
Aberdeen are now searching the free agent market to bring in reinforcements.
Another miserable away day
Ross McCrorie supplied a sublime curling cross from the right that Christian Ramirez headed in from 10 yards.
Aberdeen could have been 2-0 up moments later, Ramirez burst in on goal and lifted the ball beyond keeper Liam Kelly only to see the shot flash inches wide.
Motherwell hit back in the 34th minute when Van Veen picked up the ball and curled a shot from 20 yards.
The effort took a deflection that moved it away from keeper Gary Woods into the far top corner.
Motherwell then deservedly went ahead when a Sean Goss’ corner caused panic in the defence.
Lack of communication between keeper Woods and Scott Brown saw them impede one another. From the chaos, Connor Shields latched onto the loose ball to fire home deep into first half injury time.
The woodwork denied Motherwell midway through the second half when a Mark O’Hara shot was deflected on to the bar.
Soon after, a poor David Bates headed clearance fell to Van Veen, but, clean through on goal, he shot wide to waste a clear chance.
Aberdeen pushed on trying to force extra-time. In injury time, the ball fell to Ramirez in space and the striker unleashed a powerful 12-yard drive, but keeper Kelly produced a superb save to secure the win.
It was the last moment of action in Glass’ Pittodrie managerial career.