Former Dundee United manager Ray McKinnon is convinced the squad he built at Tannadice should have been good enough to win the Championship.
The Tangerines are facing a third season out of the Premiership following their promotion play-off aggregate defeat to Livingston on Friday night.
McKinnon was dismissed by the club when they were only five points off the top of the table and they finished 13 behind champions St Mirren in third spot under new gaffer Csaba Laszlo.
He believes it could have turned out differently for them if they had stuck by him.
McKinnon said: “At United we built a team at very short notice, won a trophy (the Irn-Bru Cup) and took them to the play-off final.
“Given where we started from two summers ago, I felt that was a decent season up against a Hibs team who had been rebuilding for a few years to win the title.
“I was surprised when they sacked me because we had been rebuilding the squad again.
“Simon Murray, Tony Andreu and Thomas Mikkelsen had all left, so that was three big goal threats to replace.
“I had a three-year plan and we were only in the second phase of it, but they took the decision and I don’t have any ill feelings about it.
“I still believe the squad I’d built was good enough to win the league.
“Fair play to St Mirren and Jack Ross because they did brilliantly. But I think the group of players I put together were capable of getting promoted this season.
“We were near the top of the league when I went, so of course when you are shown the door in those circumstances it comes as a bit of a shock.
“Within two weeks the team were top of the league.
“But we’re six months down the line now. I’ve accepted it and I wish United become successful in the future.”