Gutted Osman Sow believes if Robbie Neilson had been appointed last summer Dundee United would be back in the Premiership by now.
The striker suffered double heartache in Paisley on Sunday because not only did the Tangerines miss out on going up, he was one of four men who missed in the deciding penalty shootout against St Mirren at the Simple Digital Arena.
And if he is still hurting, he knows he must push the pain to one side as quickly as possible and focus on the task of making it fourth time lucky for his club next term.
The big Swede is confident it will be, simply because the mix of the right manager and a quality squad for an entire campaign will put United in pole position in the second tier.
“I believe if the gaffer had been in earlier, at the beginning of the season, things would have been very different for the club,” he said.
“If you look at the results since the gaffer came in, it has been positive.
“We should really look hopeful for next season because of that. We just have to take this disappointment on the chin and then make sure we bounce back.”
Sow was one of 11 signings Neilson made as he rebuilt the team during the January transfer window.
Frustration stems from the fact he feels, with just a little more time, the squad could have been moulded into one capable of securing promotion.
However, he has no doubts that come the opening Championship fixtures of the 2019/20 campaign they will be where they want to be.
“We are all feeling down but downs are always going to happen in football,” Sow added.
“When they do happen you have to make sure you come back strong and better for that experience.
“I truly believe in the squad. We were starting to gel as a team and it was just unfortunate on the day that we could not get the win we needed against St Mirren.”
As for the disaster that was the penalty shootout, one that saw United miss four of their kicks, he is disappointed but philosophical.
“Of course we feel bad for missing the penalties but this happens.
“You make your decision and step up and take the kick, this is all you can do.
“I thought when I struck my kick it was going in.
“It beat the keeper and I felt it was going in but it didn’t go in and that’s it. I just have to wipe my mouth and move on.
“It hurts because we missed but I am sure everybody will come back hungry and confident.
“We have a squad to get the job done, definitely, so next year we get back on our feet and do what we must.”
And he knows the best way to make sure there is no more play-off agony is by winning automatic promotion.
“We must look to finish first in the league so we are not having to go through these play-off games once again.
“We have the quality and now a pre-season ahead with a manager who is great.
“With the fans keeping on backing us like they always have, we must believe we can get there next time.”
Those fans he mentioned will, he promises, make everyone in the Tannadice dressing-room more determined to succeed over the next year.
“The fans deserve much more, they were brilliant at St Mirren,” added Sow.
“They turned up and supported us so well and they have been doing that since I came.
“We just need to make sure we take our break now, build up and come back stronger next season.”