Cowdenbeath manager Gary Locke insists no-one takes into account that he had one hand tied behind his back when Hearts got relegated.
And the 41-year-old expects all the blame to be pinned on him should the Blue Brazil lose their status as a SPFL club – even though the Fife outfit were already struggling at the League Two basement when he took over the reins in March.
Cowdenbeath’s proud league status is on the line when they go into Saturday’s pyramid final first leg away to Lowland champions East Kilbride.
Locke was in charge of Hearts when the administration-hit Tynecastle club was relegated to the Championship in 2014 after failing to recover from a 15-point penalty and he is desperate to avoid having another stain on his CV.
He said: “Relegation at Hearts was painful and even to this day, no-one says, ‘you look at the circumstances you had to work under with the 15 point deduction’.
“It’s simple, you got relegated and people will say that you were there when they got relegated. Football can be a bit unforgiving in terms of that.
“Even in ten years from now, people will look to see who the manager was when Hearts went down and it was Gary Locke, even though you could argue that we had a really young side. We had lost all our best players and we were 15 points adrift before we even started. No-one mentions that.
“But it’s not something you want on your CV and it’s the same as this one, I’ve only been in the job two months and they were at the bottom of the league before I went there.
“In the time I’ve been here I feel I have made a difference and improved the team but if they go down it’s you that’s the manager.”
Locke’s predecessor Liam Fox was in charge when East Kilbride beat the Blue Brazil 1-0 in a Scottish Cup tie last October but the former Hearts captain is adamant that they are now a different team.
He added: “I would like to think I’ve made a wee difference to them, when I went in they were in a horrendous position and confidence was really low. But we’ve managed to win four games and I think we’ve only won nine all season so in the short short space of time I’ve been there we picked up quite a few points.
“Normally when you finish bottom of the league you wouldn’t have much confidence but we have played some decent stuff and we’re confident ourselves.”