There are some results that fall into the straight "sackable offence" category in football – and Thursday night's at Easter Road in Edinburgh surely came very close to it.

Hibs' 0-7 reverse at home to Malmo of Sweden will never be forgotten in Scottish football. It was a debacle, a night of infamy for Pat Fenlon, a Hibs manager whose erratic time at Easter Road over the past 20 months has convinced precious few. Fenlon, surely, is on borrowed time in his job.

Scottish football hacks covering Thursday's game were left scurrying across the internet as the goals rained past Ben Williams to check whether this was the worst-ever night for a Scottish club in Europe.

And indeed it was. Our clubs, including Rangers and Celtic, have had some humiliations down the years, but this – 0-7 at home, 0-9 on aggregate – was as bad as it gets.

Rikard Norling, the Malmo coach, was both compassionate and absurd in his post-match summary. "We were lucky," Norling said, with words that just about beggared belief. It was humane of him not to crow, but no team can win 7-0, going on eight or nine, and put it down to luck.

I don't believe for a minute that these grisly 90 minutes at Easter Road told us anything new about Scottish football – few can have any illusions about the decline that has set in over the years. But what the rout did tell us – yet again – is that there is something weak and brittle and susceptible about Hibs under their Irish manager.

Fenlon's Hibs teams seem incapable of stout defending. They appear prone to collapse, to disintegration. Everyone has been citing the two most glaring cases – the 5-1 defeat to Hearts in the 2012 Scottish Cup final and now this Malmo indignity – but even last season's Scottish Cup semi-final against Falkirk was a case in point.

Fenlon's team were 3-0 down after 45 minutes against Steven Pressley's First Division youngsters. Over those opening 45 minutes Hibs had been torn apart – again – and were only saved by Falkirk running out of legs in the second half.

What is it about this manager? Does he lack presence or conviction in the dressing room? Does he flatter to deceive? Is he incapable of imparting any verbal delivery to his players which might result in his team having even a hint of backbone?

Fenlon's track-record must make all of us pause for a moment. Prior to arriving at Hibs his cv as a coach looked highly decent. He had won five League of Ireland titles, plus numerous cups, between 2003 and 2009 with Shelbourne and Bohemians. He was one of the hottest properties to emerge in years from that country.

None of this can be merely dismissed. Irish football is to Scotland what Scottish football is to the England – i.e. grossly inferior – but you can only work in your own environment and prove your worth. Fenlon, whatever his other quirks and shortcomings, had certainly done that.

At Hibs, however, he has often looked out of his depth. Yesterday I spoke to a number of Hibs fans, all with a knowing eye for the game, and a recurring theme emerged about the plodding, old-fashioned football which they see their team playing under Fenlon.

The gist, though, remains this: something is badly wrong when a manager and a team go to pieces in the way that Hibs did on Thursday night.

That is one aspect of this current Hibs humiliation. The second aspect to be considered is more deep-rooted within the club. It comes back to the old question about owner Sir Tom Farmer and chairman Rod Petrie and their stewardship of this Scottish football institution.

Farmer, for me, can hardly be held up for blame. He is not a football man but, seeing the plight of Hibs in Leith many years ago, opted to step in and save the club when few others were able to. Farmer is a philanthropist, if you will, though others might view him as an absentee landlord.

That gap between club and owner probably isn't healthy for Hibs. Then you factor in Petrie, Farmer's place-man at the club, and the debate heats up. To anyone but close family and friends, Petrie is distant, cold and inscrutable, an impossible man to fathom.

He has also now presided over, barring one or two exceptions, a remarkable list of doomed Hibs managers, stirring up even more suspicion among the Leith faithful that he has no football instinct or judgement at all.

In all of this, and going against the modern fad for supporter ownership and the like, what Hibs seem to lack is an old-fashioned heavyweight chairman, a man whose hands-on, ego-steeped ambition might permeate throughout the club.

Simon Pia, a well-known political figure in Edinburgh, and renowned Hibs fan, told me yesterday: "I've said it for a long time now – there is something weak and paltry right at the heart of Hibs. It has been this way for years. The club is managed along cold business lines but, in terms of football, it has a very soft mentality.

"Hibs have been pushovers for years. You can debate someone like Pat Fenlon all you like but there is a much deeper malaise at Easter Road. The ambition within the club, I think, has long been pretty limited."

Poor Fenlon kept his press duties to a minimum the other night, stopping off just long enough to say he was "embarrassed" by the Malmo defeat before fleeing. This Irishman now faces hoops of fire in the weeks ahead.

Ironically, a 7-0 result, cherished and ritualised by Hibs fans for over 40 years, has now been tarnished. No longer can this scoreline be flaunted and crowed about in the Edinburgh pubs and clubs.

Hapless Hibs have turned the joke back on themselves.