He graced the Tannadice turf in happier days, but now former Dundee United midfielder Ray McKinnon will be tasked with plotting a path back to the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership at the earliest possible juncture.
McKinnon could have still been on course to manage in Scotland’s top flight for the first time with Raith Rovers, only Hibernian had other ideas.
Alan Stubbs’ men narrowly squeezed McKinnon’s Rovers side out of the Championship play-offs just last week to earn a crack at Falkirk, before Dundee United showed their hand.
After dropping out of the big time and sacked manager Mixu Paatelainen subsequently, the Terrors wasted no time headhunting McKinnon.
Having exceeded many expectations in his debut season at Stark’s Park by clinching that fourth play-off berth, the Rovers hierarchy and fans alike can rightly feel aggrieved about losing their promising coach after just 12 months at the helm.
However, the lure of his hometown club proved too much to resist for McKinnon and having agreed compensation with the Kirkcaldy club, United will be hoping their manager swoop quickly turns the club’s ailing fortunes.
The somewhat nostalgic appointment of former striker Paatelainen at the start of 2015/16 clearly didn’t work out, but taking McKinnon’s season with Raith as the best available evidence, things may well be looking up now.
Although it’s unclear what resources will be made available at Tannadice ahead of the 2016/17 campaign, the team that McKinnon moulded on a shoestring for Rovers breeds hope.
United will have to get shot of some deadwood that’s for sure.
McKinnon, 45, who signed a three-year deal with the Tannadice outfit is unlikely to be in charge for United’s final Premiership fixture at play-off facing Kilmarnock.
In the circumstances, a rare away win for the Tangerines is priced up at 13/8 with Ladbrokes.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.