Ian Murray has plumbed the depths and hit the heights during a whirlwind nine days.
The former Rangers and Scotland defender thought his opportunity to manage in the Championship next term had been shattered by Airdrieonians’ galling playoff defeat against Queen’s Park.
However, Murray will fulfil that aim — after being named the new manager of Raith Rovers.
The ex-Dumbarton and St Mirren boss has penned a two-year deal with the Kirkcaldy club, succeeding John McGlynn in the dugout.
“Football’s a funny game,” said Murray. “From the disappointment I felt this time last week after losing a play-off final, to now be looking forward to a Championship season — albeit at a new club — is exciting.
“The chance to come back to the Championship was hugely appealing for me.
“It’s been a long journey back. Sometimes the knocks make you stronger. You deal with things differently, you gain experience and you learn from mistakes.
“I’m really looking forward to trying out my methods at a new football club that is receptive to what I am suggesting.
“I genuinely feel it will help Raith Rovers in the short-term and medium-term.”
Asked whether securing promotion with Airdrie would have convinced him to remain a Diamond, Murray smiled: “It’s the ifs, buts and maybes of life. We’ll never know.”
Brad Spencer talks
Murray confirmed that Rovers are in talks with Airdrie regarding the future of their assistant manager Scott Agnew, with a view to also bringing him to Stark’s Park.
Talks will also begin in earnest with Raith’s out of contract stars.
While Murray was quizzed on the future of several key players including Reghan Tumilty and Kyle Benedictus, he struck the most positive tone when discussing pivotal playmaker Brad Spencer.
“We’re hopeful of keeping Brad,” continued Murray. “Footballers have options and they have to take care of themselves.
“But we’ll do our best to keep the players we think can keep adding to the club.
“There will be comings and goings but we don’t see a huge amount of change.”
Addressing the situation of skipper Benedictus, who was immediately linked with Falkirk when it become apparent that would be McGlynn’s destination, Murray added: “Kyle is out of contract. He’s played over 300 games here for Raith Rovers and is a natural leader on the pitch.
“I don’t know Kyle off the park because I’ve never worked with him but we’ll speak to him — of course we will — and we’ll see what’s best for everybody.”
‘The past is the past’
As well as crafting a successful side on the pitch, Murray is determined to cultivate togetherness off the field.
It has been a tumultuous five months for Raith Rovers, from the disastrous signing of David Goodwillie to owner John Sim’s explosive interview with Courier Sport in which he mused on the notion of shutting the club down.
And Murray was keen to put any controversies in the rearview mirror and look to the challenge ahead.
“The past is the past, as far as I’m concerned,” added Murray. “Decisions were made and nobody makes decisions hoping they go wrong.
“If we play the right football and produce exciting performances, then the fans will come back. That happens at every level.
“There’s a good nucleus here of a fan-base and once the boys go over the white line, the fans will support them.”