It is a milestone Jim McInally is reluctant to talk about in great detail but one he can understand the significance of.
Today marks 10 years since McInally took the reins at Peterhead, embarking on the longest-standing managerial tenure in Scottish football.
Highs have outnumbered lows, with two league titles and a Hampden final appearance countering the enduring pain of relegation in 2017.
“There’s memories no-one can take away from you and it gives you a wee bit of pride looking back,” said McInally. “There’s a contentment about me that whatever happens, nobody can take away that we’ve had a good time.”
McInally’s tenure began on October 7 2011. Five months earlier he had quit as manager of East Stirlingshire, who now find themselves scrapping in an ultra-competitive Lowland League.
Graham Webster was his first signing, on loan from Dundee, in January 2012. In his first year at the club, the Blue Toon played Celtic at Balmoor in the Scottish Cup and hosted Rangers in their first game in the lower leagues.
League Two title success came in 2014 and 2015-16 was memorable too, reaching the Championship play-offs and facing Rangers in the Challenge Cup final at Hampden Park.
McInally still has regrets about how the following year played out, seeing his side tumble out of League One after a heavy play-off defeat against Forfar Athletic.
“Every time I look back I think ‘we should have changed it’ and been more brutal,” he said. “But after having a season like they did, getting to the Challenge Cup final and Championship play-offs, the players deserved my loyalty to a certain extent.
“Looking back that’s probably what’s stopped me being a better manager. I wasn’t ruthless enough. But I don’t particularly blame myself either, because I think it was the first year the club made a bit of money.
“It doesn’t hide the fact we were on a slippery slope after we lost the Challenge Cup final.”
After another play-off defeat in 2018, Peterhead would go on to achieve their goal of promotion a year later, seeing off Edinburgh City and Clyde down the stretch to see McInally claim his second league title. Jack Leitch’s brace at Hampden against Queen’s Park sealed the honours.
Ten years in the same seat has allowed McInally to observe the shifting landscape of the Scottish game, some of which he feels has been detrimental.
He was an outspoken critic of the way the game’s governing bodies conducted themselves during lockdown, from the way the end of the 2019-20 season was ended to player welfare issues.
“You’d probably say it’s changed for the worse at the moment, because of everything that happened through lockdown and Covid,” he said. “Scottish football did shame itself and we’ve still got the same people running the game.
“There’s been no accountability for dodgy voting systems or relegation for teams who didn’t deserve it. Even now we’re playing in leagues with different rules.
“For Scottish football in general, it looks as though Celtic and Rangers are weakening a wee bit and the other teams are strengthening, so that’s healthier for the game at the highest level.
“At our level, League One and League Two have never been as competitive because there’s a better standard of player dropping down.”
McInally has never been afraid to speak his mind even if he gets caught in the crossfire, such as last year’s furore over reconstruction talks which saw him and Ann Budge butt heads.
“I just think it’s who I am. I’ve no divine right to be right but if someone asks my opinion, I’ll give it as honestly as I can. It’s only my opinion and it doesn’t mean I’m right.
“Being at the club as long as I have, you get so invested in it and want to protect it. You’re always fighting for the wee guy and you’re never done fighting.”
Perhaps his tenure should come as little surprise, given he played under two men who became synonymous with their respective clubs.
His big break came under Brian Clough at Nottingham Forest, a man who had guided the Midlands club to European glory and was an irrepressible figure at the City Ground for 18 years.
McInally’s greatest success, however, came with Jim McLean at Dundee United, who was a force of nature during his near-22 years at Tannadice.
“Both of these guys had similar views on how the game should be played and you always stick by what you learn from them. The habits they taught you, you try to pass them on to your team.
“But when it comes to man management, there’s no way I ever wanted to be like them. One of the things myself and Davie (Nicholls) pride ourselves on is I don’t think anyone has left the club, over the 10 years, that I wouldn’t be able to talk to. I think we treated everybody well.
“Jim McLean couldn’t say that and Brian Clough couldn’t say that. I’m not saying it’s right but it’s something we pride ourselves on. When it comes to players moving on, we part on the right terms.”
By his side for the last decade has been Davie Nicholls, his assistant from his time at East Stirlingshire and whose loyalty and honesty have been invaluable traits for McInally to call upon.
Reaching today’s landmark also makes him the first manager since Allan McGraw, a man who preceded McInally at Morton, to manage a club for more than 10 years in one spell. McGraw left Cappielow in 1997, with the pressures and expectations of management increasing in the intervening 24 years and seeing few come close to that mark.
“Fewer people are doing it, with the demands of clubs and supporters. I’ve always been aware of that, since I left Morton, there’s a lot of clubs in Scotland that are pretty unrealistic about where they should be in the Scottish game,” added McInally.
“If they’re not where they think they should be, then they lose patience and chairmen keep moving people on. I’ve been really lucky with chairman; even at Morton, I had a really good chairman with a very demanding support.”
A strong relationship with Peterhead chairman Rodger Morrison and former director Ian Grant, who has provided significant financial help to the club, has been the backbone of his time in charge.
“You need a relationship that, even when things go wrong, they understood what you’re trying to do.
“I’ve come across managers that don’t have any sort of relationship with the chairman. If that’s the case, it’s only going to go one way.”
There are little signs of McInally going anywhere soon, even if he has taken some convincing from Morrison to stay on before.
Legacy is a difficult word to quantify when you are still in the midst of a job but when his time with the Blue Toon does come to a close, it will mark the end of a hugely significant era.
“When you go into a football club, you think it would be nice to make a difference. If we were to walk away next week, I think we could look back and think we made a bit of a difference.
“There’s a couple of league championships in there and a momentous day at Hampden. Going against Rangers in a cup final, there’s very few managers at our level that will do it again.
“The players that were there that day, that will live them forever.”