Jack Ross' five years in management have been littered with occasions that could be bracketed in the ‘career defining’ category.
Two trips to Wembley with Sunderland - both of which ended in agony - the relief of saving St Mirren from relegation one year and joy of taking them to the Championship title the next.
It’s been quite a rollercoaster for the man who is fast approaching a year in the hotseat of current employers Hibs.
But while Ross accepts big games inevitably define how he will be remembered at each of his clubs he also firmly believes the old adage that you’re only as good as your next match.
It just so happens his next one is against his club’s deadly rivals and in the semi final of a cup competition that delivered a wound so deep eight years ago it’s still not properly heeled for diehards in Leith.
Ahead of tomorrow’s Scottish Cup derby showdown with Hearts, Ross said: “I have had countless games over different seasons which have helped define my own career path.
“Alloa reaching the knockout stages of the Betfred Cup, St Mirren staying in the league, St Mirren then winning the title, two games at Wembley that went the wrong way perhaps defined how my tenure ended at Sunderland.
“There are so many games you can point to.
“But for the here and now this is the most important game because this is the one that will take us closer to winning the cup.
“Us being successful on Saturday won’t give me satisfaction in terms of defining anything about my reputation or my work. It’ll be about me taking this club closer to being successful again.
“I have players, staff and supporters who have invested in many different ways as to what we are trying to achieve and a lot of sacrifices have been made along the way.
“I carry that responsibility to bring success for them.”
The delayed Scottish Cup provides a very tangible opportunity to achieve exactly that.
“I knew it was something we could do as a club, something we could achieve,” Ross continued.
“We set players achievable targets. For me coming into this job, I didn’t come here to tread water. I came here to continue to prove myself as a manager and be a successful manager.
“Winning silverware with Hibs through a cup competition is an opportunity to do that.”
The double Wembley pain with Sunderland in 2019 sticks out most for Ross in his so-near-yet-so-far spell in charge of the Black Cats.
A penalty kick loss to Portsmouth in the Checkatrade Trophy Final was followed less than two months later by a play-off Final defeat to Charlton - courtesy of a 94th minute winner.
But Ross said: “Those games have helped me enormously. Ahead of Saturday’s match I feel each and every time you experience a game of that magnitude it helps you.
“It helps you have a greater degree of calmness in the build-up to it. It makes you understand how to keep your players focused but calm as well.
“Obviously that clarity of thought that you need to have through emotional occasions as well, you develop that.
“It makes you do everything you can to make sure you come out on the right side of the result because the bigger the occasion the more intense the fixture the more it hurts, the more it stings.
“It did on those two occasions so I want to make sure I am part of a group that comes out on the right side of the result at the weekend.
“Every single person associated with all four clubs know it is within touching distance.”
Ross and Hibs have already knocked Robbie Neilson out of the competition with a fourth round replay victory over Dundee United.
But now his old Jambos colleague is back at Tynecastle the Hibs boss accepts there’s very little the pair don’t know about each other.
Especially as they’ve been working together as guest tutors on the SFA’s A Licence course through the summer.
Ross said: “During those courses, we both have to speak about our own approaches as coaches and what we do.
“So, if there was anything we didn’t know about each other, there isn’t now – because we’ve had to be pretty open for the candidates on the course!
“No, I wasn’t tempted to hold anything back.
“It’s not really about him or I, it’s about the players on the pitch. It always comes down to how players perform and the fine margins.”
Ross reckons the six month delay in the tie has given his side an edge. But he’s well aware of the threat Hearts pose.
He said: “I believe my squad is in a better place, the balance is better.
“When this fixture was fit into the calendar, I knew we’d be facing a team who had probably made a good start in the league.
“But, equally, I have a squad in the best possible frame of mind – and they’re excited about the challenge.”