Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.
The latter was the sense of feeling Peter Houston had sitting in his car outside the Falkirk Stadium on the eve of Dundee United’s 2010 Scottish Cup semi-final.
The former United boss tuned in right until the last second of his drive from Dundee to Grangemouth as Ross County pulled off a seismic shock, knocking out Celtic at Hampden.
Houston’s charges were on a bus headed for Cumbernauld where they would complete their preparations for their own last-four clash, the next day against Raith at the national stadium.
The man himself, however, was about to take in Falkirk’s clash with St Mirren as his mind drifted to a potential final, 10 years ago this Friday.
“When we got to the semis there were two First Division teams – Ross County, who were flying, and Raith Rovers – as well as Celtic,” Houston recalls.
“If I’m being honest, you wanted to avoid Celtic. If you had to have them it would be in a final, but the draw was kind to us with Raith.
“They’d been doing well under John McGlynn but it gave us an opportunity to go to Hampden.
“One of the things that sticks in my mind is we had the Sunday game but on Saturday, Ross County were playing Celtic.
“We were going to the Westerwood Hotel in Cumbernauld to stay overnight.
“We’d trained at Tannadice and headed down. I was off to Falkirk to watch them play St Mirren but Gary Kirk and Paul Hegarty went with the team on the bus.
“I was listening to the radio all the way and about half-way down Ross County went one-up.
“By the time I’m in the car park at Falkirk, Ross County score again with minutes to go to make it 2-0 and it really hit me then.
“That was the first time I thought to myself, ‘There’s only three teams left and we’re now the favourites for the cup’.
“I felt a bit of pressure going into the Raith Rovers game that we had to go out and do our business.
“We were nervous but, thankfully, I had a group of players behind me who were magnificent and we beat Raith comfortably after a slow 20-minute start.”
Although they were indeed favourites at that stage to go on and lift the cup, Houston insists that wasn’t always the case.
The 61-year-old believes the Tangerines still had to do it the hard way in beating Partick, St Johnstone and champions Rangers after a replay to get their shot at Hampden glory.
He continues: “A lot of people say Dundee United had it easy because we played Ross County in the final but they forget about the journey.
“The fact is we had an away game at Partick Thistle then we were away to Premier League St Johnstone in the next round. That’s never an easy fixture.
“We went down there and I remember Gary’s father had died during that week.
“The players decided they wanted to wear black armbands and dedicated the win to Bobby Kirk, who was an ex-Hearts league and cup winner way back.
“It was a nice gesture for the players, that’s the type of boys they were.
“We went to Ibrox after that to play a strong Rangers side, who were the champions.
“That was three in a row away from home in the Scottish Cup so we didn’t have an easy draw.
“We were 3-1 down after Rangers got a couple of penalties, the usual at Ibrox, but to our credit we scored goals.
“To see Andis Shala and Mihael Kovacevic on the scoresheet was something unusual. We got a wee break as well with wee Morgaro Gomis’ volley being deflected in.
“They thought the game was won at 3-1. They had downed tools a bit and the crowd was away to miss the traffic.
“That set us up for our only home tie, the replay at Tannadice. That was a memorable game for the supporters.
“The treble-buster, as he calls himself, David Robertson scored with his backside in the last minute.
“That was the best thing for us because there wasn’t much time for Rangers to go and put up a comeback.
“We were the better team and deserved to win.”
United would see off Ross County in the final thanks to a second-half strike from David Goodwillie and a Craig Conway double.
Nearly 30,000 Arabs rejoiced in watching on as Houston & Co climbed the steps to lift the Scottish Cup for the first time since 1994.
He continues: “It hits you when you’re walking out prior to kick-off and it’s just a sea of tangerine.
“There were 28,000 Arabs there and that was a sight to behold. It’s so colourful.
“A lot of people thought it wouldn’t be a good atmosphere because it was Dundee United and a smaller club like Ross County but to be fair to them I think Dingwall emptied for that day.
“It was a busy final and the pressure was on us that we should win this cup.
“There’s an added pressure there because you’re desperately keen to not mess it up for the fans.
“The Saturday night and Sunday celebrations at Tannadice and City Square were amazing.
“It’s something you can’t take away from that group of players and it will never leave my memory.”
The celebrations would go on for days after but it is only now Houston looks back at their win as greatness achieved not bestowed.
He credits predecessor Craig Levein for laying the foundations and admits there is a special sense of pride at achieving Scottish Cup glory, something the man who started it all, Jim McLean, couldn’t do.
“As you get older you start asking yourself, ‘Where did those 10 years go to?’” he says.
“It brought joy to a lot of United fans who’d only seen them win it once prior with Ivan Golac.
“It felt surreal that Jim, who was the best manager of them all, hadn’t been able to get it over line with the amount of times he took United to Scottish Cup Finals.
“It was great for me, personally, being the manager of United then and doing that.
“The big thing for me was we had a brilliant group of players.
“Craig and I had went in a few years before and he deserves credit as well. Him and I worked really hard building a new squad.
“We were bottom of the league when we went in back in 2006. Wee Eddie Thompson’s only words to Craig and I were, ‘Just keep my team in the top division’.
“We managed to finish ninth that season then fifth for the next couple of years.
“I was delighted that when I took over and Craig went away to be the Scotland manager we finished third, won the cup and went into Europe three years in a row.
“It had been a long time for the club since it had been on that stage and they haven’t been since.
“A lot of people forget that, yes we won the Scottish Cup, but we finished third behind a very strong Rangers and Celtic, and nine points ahead of Hibs.
“It was a magnificent achievement and turned out a wonderful season.”