His achievement in steering Hearts to promotion by a 21-point margin in 2015 despite a second tier that included big guns Rangers and Hibs is a stand out.
However, new manager Robbie Neilson does not believe his task in getting Dundee United up from the Championship this season will be any easier.
Those two giants of the Scottish game he was up against last time he operated at this level may have long since returned to their usual places but what he sees in the months that lie ahead is a league that is, overall, much stronger.
That said, the man who’s turned down a string of offers from other clubs over the course of the year, has his sights firmly on being in the top flight with the Tangerines.
“I think there are a lot of teams in the mix this year. I’ve been to see the majority of the teams and there’s more depth to the Championship,” said the new Tannadice head coach.
“Saying that, I think Dundee United have a really strong squad for this league. There are not many who can compete with it.
“It’s going to be a tough league but every league is tough whether you are at the top or the bottom. I’m very excited about what we can do here.”
He’s been out of work since leaving MK Dons in January but did have the chance to return to management on several occasions, both back here in Scotland and down south.
Accepting his switch to England did not go to plan, he agrees it was important his next job was the right one for him and that meant a club where he had the chance to achieve something.
Having had a brief spell at United as a player, he knew they fitted that bill.
“From the outside looking in, from what I’d seen and what I know, it’s a big football club, with a great fan base.
“They’ve got really good training facilities, which is important to me, and a good squad. Those were aspects that I thought ticked the boxes.
The other ones were, ‘what’s the board like? What’s the chairman like?’ Having met them, it ticked the other boxes as well. The only box that isn’t really ticked is that it’s in the Championship. That’s the box everyone wants to tick. We’ve got to make sure we do that.”
While his appointment has had the overwhelming approval of the vast majority of Arabs, one thing Robbie will not do is take their support for granted.
He’s determined to give them a team that’s worth paying to see.
“I would say come and see a team that’s hungry, works hard and wants to do well for this club.
“We want to win football matches. The proof will be in the pudding on Saturday.
“We can come here and talk the talk but, ultimately, we’ve got to walk the walk and we plan to do that. We all know in football that if you win matches everything is different. The crowds come, the income comes, players come. That’s the key for us. Just win.”
For now he’s coming in on his own and is happy to work with assistant boss Laurie Ellis. However, moves to bring in former Scotland striker Stevie Crawford are likely.
“There’s been a lot of talk about Stevie. I’d like to try and get him in and it’s something we’d like to do. I need to have that conversation with Stevie, the chairman and Dunfermline.
“We’re good friends but, as I said to the chairman, he’s a fantastic coach.
“Being a former defender, I know that side of the game 100%.
“I know the minute details. I can put sessions on for strikers but it’s important for them to have a guy who is a real striker coach and who knows the details.”