Kenny Shiels could legitimately point to the shortage of credit issued towards himself and Kilmarnock. It can often appear patronising when teams are praised for trying to play football in a positive manner despite the occasional horror result.
In Shiels's case, there is substance behind style. Despite pre-season predictions to the contrary, Kilmarnock's Premier League status is not in danger and they have an outside chance of reaching the top six before the division's annual split.
Within this campaign there has been a rare Kilmarnock win at Ibrox and, on Sunday at Hampden Park, there comes a chance for Shiels to claim tangible reward. Given the rebuilding job undertaken by the Northern Irishman since he succeeded Mixu Paatelainen – and the sparse resources available to do it – Shiels's work is worthy of recognition. Kilmarnock did not concede a goal on their run to the League Cup final against Celtic.
"There has been a big psychological shift from when Mixu took over," Shiels says. "When you get momentum then lose it as we did with Mixu leaving and players leaving, we had 15 journalists saying we were favourites for relegation this year.
"Don't forget we were signing non-league players from England and only at a certain wage level. When you rebuild something it takes time and you could see the inconsistency in our performances. We garnered some togetherness but we could be doing better though."
Shiels regards it is no coincidence that Kilmarnock's most impressive performances have come against the best sides. They will surely need their strongest showing yet in the final, with Celtic on a seemingly unstoppable charge towards a domestic Treble.
"Better pitches help us," says Shiels. "Where we've failed this season has been in our inability to adapt our tactics to a difficult surface. We've tried to play too much – through my stubbornness – on pitches that weren't appropriate against teams who didn't want to play either.
"What you'll see in the final is two teams trying to win. There are not many teams who'd be brave enough to do that against Celtic or Rangers. But when you have the ball you're not defending so that's our principle."
It was the defensive approach of Kilmarnock's local rivals, Ayr United, which caused a spat after the pair's semi-final. Shiels made it plain he thought little of Ayr's negative tactics, which, unsurprisingly, triggered a sharp response from the opposition.
"If you look at the gap between Ayr and Kilmarnock it's nowhere near as huge as the gap between us and Celtic," Shiels says. "The teams in the First Division and the bottom half of the SPL are of similar quality.
"If I'm asked a question about the game and tell the truth about an opponent and it's a little bit negative, it's seen as controversial.
"If we get hammered by Celtic 5-0 and I'm asked about Celtic, obviously it'll be complimentary, and it'll be the truth – but it's not controversial? Therein lies the problem."
History, as well at Celtic's form, hardly augurs well for Kilmarnock. The League Cup has never found a home at Rugby Park, with Kilmarnock defeated in their five previous final appearances. With that in mind, Shiels and his players have an opportunity to assume legendary status within the Ayrshire town.
"Along the way you get highs and lows – apart from the Old Firm, where the highs outweigh the lows – but for a club like us it's a case of: 'Entertain us and get us to a semi-final or final.'
"What a season our fans have had in terms of social bonding – just look at the semi-final against Ayr. Our support was unbelievable. Forget the result – just getting themselves pumped up and the adrenaline pumping would have made it worthwhile.
"Winning the trophy? That makes a massive difference to this club. There are very few players outside the big three who have won something and I'd love us to do it. The chances of winning a cup in Scotland are slim."
But the return in terms of credit would be huge.