A fortnight ago defeat at Bolton led owner Dave Whelan to sack the respected Uwe Rosler, but such is the self-inflicted maelstrom that has followed Mackay to the DW Stadium few will notice a draw against Boro that makes it one victory in 13 for the Latics.
Wigan’s day began with yet another public pronouncement from Whelan, this time warning that he would resign as chairman if the Football Association finds him guilty of making racist comments in an interview with the Guardian.
Whelan had been defending his decision to hire Mackay, who is also under FA investigation for allegedly exchanging racist and anti-Semitic texts, when he made comments about Jews and the Chinese.
Both men deny being racists, having been branded as such by Mackay’s former Cardiff employer Vincent Tan.
Yet it seems certain the issue will be rumbling on long after the memory of an entertaining clash with Boro, squared by Shaun Maloney’s fine free-kick and Patrick Bamford’s neat finish, has faded.
Whelan left his entrance late, emerging into the directors’ box a matter of moments before kick-off.
And when he did the reaction was one of unequivocal support.
Fans in the West Stand turned as one to the club’s long-time benefactor, chanting his name and offering a lengthy ovation as he took his seat.
The 77-year-old appeared to wipe away a tear as he raised his hand in acknowledgement.
The action in the stands continued to take centre stage after kick-off, another rousing chant of “Whelan” followed by a less well-supported rendition of “Malky give us a wave”.
The Scot declined the invitation.
The players attempted to win back some attention, Chris McCann jinking into Boro territory with a fine run before Daniel Ayala tripped him on the edge of the box.
Maloney lined up his free-kick and curled it delicately onto the top of the crossbar.
Wigan continued to set the pace, Roger Espinoza with a series of clever touches to link midfield and attack and Emmerson Boyce seeing a goalbound header blocked from a corner.
The Latics took the lead in the 24th minute, McCann again driving into the final third only to be floored by Adam Clayton.
Maloney, having struck the frame at the first attempt, did not spurn a second chance, whipping a wonderful effort into the top corner.
As the players mobbed the scorer, Mackay high-fived coach Gary Birtles before grabbing a note pad and calling Espinoza and Adam Forshaw to the touchline for a pep talk.
Kike almost levelled when he bent a clever effort narrowly wide of Scott Carson’s goal, while Forshaw volleyed just off target in added time with goalkeeper Dimitrios Konstantopoulos stranded.
Boro did equalise eight minutes after the restart, Kike threading through half-time substitute Bamford, who slid coolly into the bottom corner from a tight angle.
Chances continued to flow in the second period, Leon Barnett hitting the post from six yards after meeting a corner with his instep and McCann somehow missing the target with the net gaping in the 64th minute.
Lee Tomlin was denied a penalty shout in injury-time, after which Mackay took to the pitch to greet each of his players as they left the field.