Winning promotion to the Scottish Championship through the play-offs three years ago was probably the worst thing that could have happened to Brechin City.
The Glebe Park part-timers defeated Alloa Athletic 5-4 on penalties in May 2017 to earn a place in the second tier but the scenes of jubilation that followed that triumph at the Indodrill Stadium proved short-lived.
The Hedgemen endured a miserable campaign in the Championship and were relegated without winning a single game.
It went from bad to worse the following season with Brechin suffering a second successive relegation after a 1-1 draw against Stenhousemuir on the final day of the season. There has been no improvement this season and Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat by Stirling Albion has left Brechin seven points adrift at the bottom of League Two, having played two games more than Albion Rovers, the team immediately above them.
Brechin boss Mark Wilson, who replaced Barry Smith earlier this season, accepts time is running out for his side, who have won only two of their previous 20 matches, as they battle to avoid the dreaded end of season play-offs.
Should they finish bottom, they will face either the winners of the Highland League or Lowland League to preserve their place in the SPFL with Brora Rangers and Kelty Hearts currently in pole position in their respective divisions.
Brechin City chairman Ken Ferguson has admitted demotion from the SPFL would be a disaster for the club.
Under the current pyramid structure, Brechin would drop into the Highland League should they be defeated in the play-offs, but it is understood this is an unappetising prospect for many at the club, given the majority of the team are based in the Central Belt.
Many Brechin supporters have voiced their fears for the future of their club should they be demoted, while Ferguson has remained tight-lipped on the potential consequences of relegation.
It has been a remarkable and painful fall from grace for a team that was playing in the same division as Caley Thistle, Dundee United and Livingston only a couple of years ago.
Since gaining promotion to the Championship, Brechin have won only 13 games from 98 matches.
It wasn’t so long ago that Michael O’Neill, the man who has transformed the fortunes of the Northern Ireland national team, was cutting his teeth as a manager in the Glebe Park dugout.
How they could do with someone of his stature to turn things around.
Brechin travel to Aberdeen this Saturday to face League Two leaders Cove Rangers who have made the leap from the Highland League through the play-offs and are flourishing in their first season in the SPFL.
Time will tell if the Hedgemen are heading in the opposite direction.