THERE was no delirium in the stands. No figurehead, just like Jim Goodwin of 12 months before, striding forward to mark the occasion with the fans who had been there every step of the way. 

The oddest thing about Alloa Athletic’s remarkable triumph in the face of doubts from everyone beyond Wee County lines is figuring out just how to celebrate it. 

When the history books are written about this season - and what an unenviable job that will be - it will be a crying shame if the Wasps' achievements go unheralded. Once again, this small team from Clackmannanshire with a tiny budget defied all doubts to secure their place in Scotland’s second-tier.

READ MORE: Ayr 1-1 Alloa: Wasps secure Championship status with final day drama

It’s little wonder then, more than two months since Alloa last took to the pitch and their safety now secured, Peter Grant is keen to stress that he believes his Wasps could have achieved even more.

“I’d have been delighted if the season had gone to its end as I was really curious to see where we would have ended up,” Grant told Advertiser Sport. “There’s no doubt in my mind, with eight games to go, we were hitting our form. I know how our boys were feeling and I know how they were playing.

Strathallan Times: Peter Grant on the day he was unveiled as Alloa boss Peter Grant on the day he was unveiled as Alloa boss

“Yeah (there was a wee bit of sadness with the league ending so abruptly). I took a phone call not long after and someone said you must be delighted with staying up. I was like ‘hold on, we maybe just missed out on the play-offs with eight games to go’.

“The players got to the stage where they understood where I was coming from and what I was trying to do. It was maybe slightly different from what the players had had before. You’ve got to remember the previous managers were either in their first job or their second at the most.

“I understood that and it would be stupid of me to put my neck on the line by being stubborn. The bottom line is the most important thing for me is Alloa win on a Saturday. We don’t worry about the opposition. When we look at them to prepare it’s about what we will do to win the game. How can we beat Dunfermline away? How can we beat Dundee United at Tannadice? It’s about having trust in your players and I knew the players I had.

“The players will also be disappointed in how the season ended and speaking to them between then and now you can sense that.”

Alloa chairman Mike Mulraney surprised most onlookers when he switched up the ‘winning’ formula of appointing baby-faced bosses for a man who had been round the block and was probably still nursing the wounds of an infamous 3-0 defeat in Kazakhstan while assisting Alex McLeish with the national team.

The July appointment marked Grant's first role in the hot seat for more than a decade - a short spell as caretaker with Fulham aside - and he had to quickly adapt to a very different type of player. Gone were the Premier League stars on six-figure wages, replaced by a squad who spend their days in the insurance trade, quantity surveying, or policing the streets.

Strathallan Times: Grant's appointment marked a change of direction from the club's policy of appointing younger managers such as Jack Ross Grant's appointment marked a change of direction from the club's policy of appointing younger managers such as Jack Ross

“I was fortunate enough with the managers I worked with that they gave me so much rope,” Grant, 54, said. “They let me manage the dressing room and would disappear and do other things, leaving you to make decisions.

“I always liked managing. I went straight from playing, to being an assistant manager, to being manager of Norwich in no time. I genuinely wish I had the chance to get some experience and I always say this to young managers.

“I was burnt out at Norwich and just felt I had to make a decision for my family or else something was going to give. But, two days later, I knew it was the worst decision I had made in my life.

Strathallan Times: Grant's Alloa appointment came shortly after a spell assisting Alex McLeish (centre) with Scotland; James McFadden is also pictured Grant's Alloa appointment came shortly after a spell assisting Alex McLeish (centre) with Scotland; James McFadden is also pictured

“People say they don’t have regrets in life but I do. Delia Smith and Michael Foulger said to me to take a couple of days and think it over but I decided that was it. Looking back, it was pig headedness and it’s something I have learned from. You have to stay strong in situations.

“The Alloa job coming along out of the blue was really a great thing. I never really had time to think about the pros and cons. One thing I had to look at was how to manage the players being part-time when I had worked full-time.

“How do I get the information to the players so they are not coming in on a Tuesday night and just sitting around for a few hours? There have been loads of things I have had to learn to do differently I never had to consider before.”

Strathallan Times: Grant and Kevin O'Hara completed a double swoop of Championship awards in January Grant and Kevin O'Hara completed a double swoop of Championship awards in January

It wasn’t all Championship Manager of the Month awards and plaudits for his Wasps’ playing style, however, and, especially during a four game winless run in early December, questions were asked of Grant and his players; their answers proved emphatic. 

READ MORE: Peter Grant and Kevin O'Hara in Championship awards double swoop

“It would have been easy to look at some of the results and start to worry and doubt yourself,” Grant said. “But my experiences told me and I had learnt from them prior.

“You are big enough and ugly enough to realise you make mistakes and you learn from them through your experiences. We’ll get it wrong certain days but it is never because of effort and commitment.”

Grant added: “If I go from the start to the end, there were probably only three or four times we let ourselves down. Yes, we didn’t always get the results. But performance-wise I couldn’t really complain apart from those times. I’ll bet you any of the top teams would be delighted if that was the case.

“When everyone outside saw us as cannon fodder, that’s the biggest thing for me. It was disrespectful to the players. We changed the players’ mentality so they started going into every game wanting to win.”