PROTESTS are inconvenient.

That's the thing about any mode of demonstration. Whether it’s a sit-in, a strike, a march or, yes, even a silent protest, it has to be at least somewhat problematic for people. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Now does that mean the latest demonstration against the purported appointment of Police Scotland assistant chief constable Bernard Higgins had to be a silent one? No, and it is understandable why some wouldn’t like it given the possible impact it can have on the players.

In the 1990s Back the team, sack the board was catchy and all that, but it fundamentally rang true as it meant those demonstrating could still voice support for the players on the pitch. That’s why most people are there, after all.

Celtic right-back Josip Juranovic said after the 1-0 win over Motherwell that the change in atmosphere was perceptible on the pitch. Of course it would be.

Celtic Way: Fans protest during the Aberdeen game, with a sit-in staged after the match tooFans protest during the Aberdeen game, with a sit-in staged after the match too

“We noticed it,” he said. “When we came in afterwards we were speaking about it and how we never really heard them singing. We were joking we should join the protest and sit on the pitch and drink coffee!

“It made a difference. When the fans sing it is the main thing here. We play for them and they cheer for us. When they cheer we play better so hopefully it will come back soon.”

However, silence is the method that a section of the support decided to go with to get their point across (points that, it should be noted, can be traced all the way back to a decade ago and the absurd Offensive Behaviour at Football Act). Those taking part in the latest protest asked for solidarity with it, not compulsory participation in it.

It is also important to remember that it wasn’t the first method of demonstration chosen either. Green Brigade banners have been a constant but there was also the tennis ball display at Dundee, the shorter silent protest against Livingston, the sit-in against Aberdeen and the open letter co-signed not just by fan groups such as the Celtic Trust and fan media outlets but by more than 250 supporters clubs from across the world too.

The latter move, in particular, served to underline that this is not, and never has been, only the Green Brigade’s fight. Just because that particular group is often the loudest – or, in Sunday’s case, one of the quietest – doesn’t make that any less true. It should not have been ignored.

WATCH: Do you agree with silent protests at Celtic? - video debate

It is, of course, absolutely fine to agree with the principle behind the protests but not with silence as the method of demonstration. But if you’re more concerned with some fans exercising their own right not to sing at a match than with understanding the reason why they feel forced into doing that in the first place then it could be argued that’s far closer to becoming part of the problem than it is to helping find a solution.

Because the inconvenient truth here is that far more worrying than the silence of some fans for a game or two is the silence from the club for a month or two.

A recurring question when discussing the Bernard Higgins situation on the Celtic Briefing this season has been ‘why would the board even give themselves this headache for a position plenty of people could presumably fill?’

The closest the hierarchy has come to addressing the issue was at the club's AGM - where Ian Bankier, erm, refused to address it.

At this point you have to ask not just if it’s pig-headedness that’s leading the board to ignore these protests and the repeated requests for some semblance of discourse on the issue, but if it’s actually a fundamental lack of leadership at the club.

It seems Dominic McKay’s talk of Celtic having a more open dialogue with supporters has evacuated Parkhead along with the former CEO. And when placed alongside an issue such as the Higgins one, the club allowing some fan media outlets the chance to ask Ange Postecoglou a couple of questions every so often doesn’t really quite cut the mustard after all, does it?

It is hard to shake the feeling a club with true, comfortable-in-its-own-skin leadership would have acted by now to seek to douse the situation rather than continue to inflame it. They’d know that doing so would not be ‘bowing down to fan pressure’ but simply acknowledging the unique place supporters of a football club occupy in an otherwise wildly capital-driven arena. Plainly put, it didn't need to reach this stage.

Yet still the prevailing feeling, given that this matter is dragging on through what has now entered the third month of protests against Higgins’ purported appointment, is one of alarm. What now?

So far every demonstration - not just the latest versions - has left only the sound of deafening silence in its wake and the only people it seems to have inconvenienced is the players and the fans themselves rather than the club as a board or a business.

The League Cup, the January window, the title race, Europe… a club at least ostensibly united to face all of those challenges would be, well, a lot more convenient.

For that to be possible a silence must end - but it doesn't have to be the one from the stands.