"If [McLeish] had stayed, the writing was on the wall that I was going to have to go."
Brad Guzan made that comment last month when discussing his transformation in fortunes at Aston Villa, and he should feel especially thankful the Scotsman was fired.
For before he was, Guzan actually found himself released by Aston Villa, confirmed in a statement on their club website last season.
After Paul Lambert's eventual appointment, Guzan was brought back into the fold, tempted by the chance of actually becoming a regular at last.
Shay Given's injury problems have seen the gloves handed to Guzan, and now the goalkeeping spot is firmly in his grasp.
Now last night the American achieved a significant personal milestone, for he was recognised for his efforts this season in the club's award ceremony.
Guzan was a double winner, winning both the Player's Player and Supporter's Player awards.
It's a remarkable illustration of just how a player can bounce back from their career hitting a brick wall, if given the combination of opportunity and having the desire to prove a point.
Guzan is 28 and has been at Villa since 2008, acting mainly as an understudy but this season has been his breakout year.
Villa fans will surely be crossing their fingers that Guzan will have the longevity of the man he used to understudy, Brad Friedel, who is still playing at 41-years-old.
There is a chance that if Guzan can maintain his level of performance and even improve with age, then the American could well be their solution in goal for the best part of the next decade.
If he is, then this season will really have been the turning point, and Villa fans will see it as just one more reason why they are glad to see the back of Alex McLeish.
image: © apasciuto