Craig Levein has finally paid the price for Scotland's poor start to their World Cup qualifying campaign after being "relieved of his duties" as national team manager.
The Scottish Football Association board delivered their verdict on his near-three-year tenure on Monday evening after protracted deliberations. Scotland Under-21 coach Billy Stark will take temporary charge of the team with his first task to name a squad for next Wednesday's friendly in Luxembourg.
A statement read: "The Scottish FA tonight announces that Craig Levein has been relieved of his duties as Scotland national coach. The board of the Scottish FA has taken the decision primarily due to the disappointing results in the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 Qualifiers, which have culminated in Scotland being bottom of the group after four matches."
The SFA stressed they would "honour Craig's contract" after Levein pleaded with chief executive Stewart Regan and president Campbell Ogilvie to be allowed to stay on until the end of the World Cup campaign.
In a statement, Regan said: "We are taking this decision with real sadness. Craig has worked hard to bring success, and has been thoroughly professional in his approach to the job.
"He has achieved a great deal with the team and in other areas, such as the performance strategy. However, he would be the first to agree that football is a results-driven business. For that reason we have relieved Craig of his duties with immediate effect."
Levein's job had been under serious threat since the defeats by both Wales and Belgium and his overall competitive record - three wins from 12 matches - is among the worst of modern Scotland managers.
All of the victories were by one goal, two against Liechtenstein and one against Lithuania, and the home victory over the former came courtesy of a Stephen McManus header deep into injury time.
The SFA have come under severe criticism for their slow response - Levein was due to name his squad for the friendly against Luxembourg on Tuesday.
Focus will now turn to a permanent successor with former Celtic manager Gordon Strachan, who was interviewed for the job before Walter Smith took over in 2005, emerging as the early favourite.