Jim Gannon, though, could never be accused of being an angel with a dirty face. This a man who becomes involved with confrontation the way a fish becomes involved with H²O. The famous story, of course, is that Gannon refused to talk to Sky after the satellite company failed to fix his set.

His career is marked with conflict. Gannon had 10 successful years as a player with Stockport County, but his testimonial turned into a row when the club charged him £10,000 for use of the pitch for the match. “It didn’t sit well with me,” Gannon said. One presumes he did not keep this discontent to himself.

His previous management jobs, at Dundalk and Stockport, ended because the ambition of the club did not match that of the manager. At 41, this man in a hurry has found the exit door at Fir Park with some alacrity.

His demise was predictable. Gannon simply ran out of people with whom to fall out. His relationship with the media almost immediately hit fraught times. He had a confrontation with one journalist over the publication of the Motherwell team on the day of a European tie. That showed the shortness of his fuse and the brevity of his patience. An argument over Motherwell in a European cup-tie can only take place very early in the season.

Gannon later extended his circle of distrust to include all of the media, failing to turn up for a post-match press conference after the Hibernian match earlier this month.

More importantly, he fell out with Hugh Dallas, the SFA’s head of refereeing development, over the standard of officiating in Scotland. Dallas believed Gannon had been personally insulting and had undermined the confidence of a nation’s referees.

Gannon also ostracised some players, forcing some experienced men to train with youth teams. Stephen Craigan, Keith Lasley and Steven Hammell were all dropped on occasion by Gannon. Indeed, Lasley made his first league start of the season on Saturday. It was an inauspicious occasion.

A 3-1 home defeat to St Johnstone provoked Gannon into some intemperate words. This was when he made his “juggling soot” comment, adding: “I don’t think any formation or starting XI would make any difference.”

He added of his players: “I can only direct them so far and it’s up to them to take responsibility on the pitch.” Another comment was blunt and possibly precipitated his departure. “I have to say I am not getting the best out of them and they are not getting the best out of themselves.”

It was hardly a Churchillian call to arms as matches with Hearts and Hamilton Academical approached.

The Motherwell board responded with the announcement yesterday that Gannon was no longer in charge. The manager, it seems, had fallen out with one party too far.

A club statement elaborated: “Over the past couple of months it has become abundantly clear that the manager was not fully committed to the club and, despite our best efforts, he repeatedly refused to sign a contract. Relations between the manager, staff and directors deteriorated to the extent that the situation became untenable.”

There were reports that Gannon was interested in other jobs. He certainly will be now.

His tempestuous reign at Motherwell is over and his tenure has been marked with acrimony. Gannon’s more positive contributions may be ignored. He was right to question the quality of refereeing, though his method was flawed and worked against any resolution. The matter of refereeing in Scotland needs a constructive dialogue between managers and officials.

He was right to drop certain players. It is a manager’s prerogative to make those decisions and no-one is entitled to a place in the team on the basis of seniority alone.

He was right to bring in the youngsters. Shaun Hutchinson, Jamie Murphy, Steven Saunders, Paul Slane and Ross Forbes all have a future in the game. That should start as soon as possible.

He was right, too, in insisting that Motherwell must pass the ball. He had to accept, however, that sometimes this open approach would lead to his side being cut open. Gannon had a difficulty facing this reality.

The frustration at Motherwell was felt in the dug-out and the boardroom. A parting of the ways was inevitable. The arguments for now are over. The right decision was made at Fir Park yesterday.