“I don’t see myself as a Dunfermline legend. I’m just a boy from Camdean who was very fortunate to pull on a Dunfermline jersey.”
As Stevie Crawford reflected on his time in charge at East End Park and his perception in the eyes of the supporters, he did so with typical humility and magnanimousness.
Results were not always ideal during his 28 months in charge; performances have sometimes been hit and miss.
However, there were ample good times and the progress under Crawford’s stewardship — a fourth-placed finish this term matching their best since exiting administration in 2013 — has been steady.
In the cold light of day, as news of Crawford’s resignation seeped into the consciousness of the Pars faithful, there was mercifully little luxuriating in his departure; just an acknowledgement of a Dunfermline legend (whether he likes it or not) who gave it his best shot.
“I don’t say this lightly: it has been an honour to manage Dunfermline and one that I’ll always be grateful for,” he continued.
“I used to go and see Ross [McArthur, chairman] on a Friday and, although I was there to do the job in hand, you’d just look at the walls; see some of the names that have managed Dunfermline…you pinch yourself.
“I’ve been very fortunate and respectful of the position. That came into my thoughts over the last few days. When I’m looking in the mirror and thinking ‘can I give that 100 per cent?’
“Dunfermline have been very good to me and I feel that it was the right time to allow it to move on and progress. There’s nobody bigger than the club.”
The whirlwind nature of Crawford’s departure is perfectly summed up by the fact the majority of his players only found out about his resignation when the club put a statement on Twitter at around 10am.
“I’ve not told the players and it’s not like me,” confirmed Crawford, speaking on Tuesday evening. “Other than my dad on Sunday night, Ross McArthur was the only one I spoke to.
“I touched base with my sister a little bit and, because she’s not really into football, I got a different perspective. My mum has always spoke about health being a big thing in life. You can’t buy your health.
“My dad made it more difficult for me to get to the decision, but he supports me and sees where I’m coming from.
“There’s a couple of players who have touched base with me on text but I don’t think it’s right to pick up the phone and talk to them yet. I’ll definitely touch base with them over the next week or so to wish them all the best and thank them.”
While Crawford has displayed uncommon candour by admitting that he felt burned out following his time in charge of the Pars, that should not be seen as him losing his passion for football or ceasing to appreciate his journey to date.
From working with a batch of Rangers kids which included Lewis Ferguson to, more recently, helping to develop Kevin Nisbet to the point where he could make Scotland’s Euro 2020 squad, he has relished every moment; every challenge.
And, in the fullness of time, he will no doubt be back at the coalface.
“I’ve been very lucky to have worked at very good clubs since beginning my coaching career,” added Crawford. “That goes right back to working with Rangers’ under-13s.
“When I was at Falkirk, Alex Smith was there. He told me the biggest pleasure that he took was when he turned the telly on and there was a Sky game, and one of the boys that he’d played a part in developing was playing.
“He would turn round to his wife, Janice — maybe sitting with a glass of red — and he’d have that wry smile. You could see the pride in him even he was telling me the stories.
“I get that same kick. It’s nice to see faces coming through the door and the respect that they had for you — and, likewise, you had for them.
“Lewis Ferguson, for example, is one I go back to. He was a player that I took at Rangers under-13s and you look at him now. I get a massive kick from seeing that. I love this game; I’m still passionate about it. It’s something I want to continue with.”