PAUL Lambert could have been forgiven for pouring himself a stiff whiskey when he settled down for Strictly on Saturday night.

This is, of course, assuming he enjoys a tipple and, perhaps less likely, a penchant for watching people dance on telly.

The point is, he must have been craving some kind of pick-me-up to settle his nerves and stir him from the daze of watching Ipswich Town crumble to another defeat, this time at Millwall.

If he didn’t know it before, he certainly knows now what an enormous task he’s undertaken.

I’m not sure if he’s brave, foolhardy or just plain crazy.

Either way, he clearly has a monumental task on his hands with hope and spirits dwindling with each passing defeat.

It’s still relatively early in the season and there are plenty of points to play for.

But after another harrowing afternoon – brittle at one end of the pitch, toothless at the other – Town appear to be inching closer and closer towards League One football.

It’s an extraordinarily depressing prospect but, whatever they think of his appointment as manager, Town fans must put their faith in Lambert.

I have to be honest and say I wasn’t blown away by the news, when it became clear late last week he would become Paul Hurst’s successor.

I felt underwhelmed and uninspired.

But having researched his career over the weekend, it could prove a shrewd appointment and we just have to hope he can do for Town what he did for their rivals up the A140, Norwich.

He inherited a sorry Canaries side, licking their wounds after that famous 7-1 trouncing by Lambert’s Colchester United in August 2009.

But he steadied the ship, turned things round and masterminded a title success and promotion to the Championship.

The following season he was at it again, guiding them up to the Premier League.

He also had three years in the top flight with Aston Villa and subsequently kept both Blackburn Rovers and Wolves in the Championship.

It’s amazing how quickly things change in football.

Had Lambert been appointed in the summer, I suspect it would have been met with outcry - seen as pointless and a like-for-like replacement for Mick McCarthy.

Town needed a young manager and fresh approach.

Hurst’s appointment was the right one at the right time, even if it ultimately finished on a sour note.

Five months on, conversely, they need an experienced, steadying influence to restore calm and order.

Given the mess the team find themselves in, it seems a logical move.

Not one to get the pulse racing but sensible and pragmatic.

Again, the right type of appointment at the right time.

Ironically, Lambert needs to emulate McCarthy’s achievements in steering Town from the foot of the Championship table.

That was the position the latter found himself in after being appointed in November 2012.

But he won his first game in charge, halting a 12-match winless run in the league, and, within half-a-dozen fixtures, had them out of the relegation zone and on their way to safety, eventually finishing 14th.

Now Lambert is charged with the same task – surely his biggest challenge in football (and this is a man who has won the Champions League, numerous honours with Celtic and captained his country at a World Cup).

Town are in freefall but he could be the man to open the parachute and ensure a safe landing.

If so, it would be a magical achievement. The proudest of moments and a chance to swap that sobering scotch for some well-earned bubbly.