As the nominees were released this week by the Scottish sports writers for their manager of the year, there weren't any surprises on the list.
Celtic's Neil Lennon, Motherwell's Stephen Robinson, two Northern Ireland men of course, and Gary Holt of Livingston are the clear standouts in the Premiership as their sides excelled. Dick Campbell of Championship Arbroath makes up the quartet as his club exceeded all expectations.
The interesting thing that stands out from the three Premiership candidates is that they all completed their Uefa Pro Licence in Belfast. The Irish FA's coach education system has been attended by many top candidates over the years so to see coaches progress into top level management is a great testimony to Nigel Best and his team.
Neil and Stephen have actually been back to share their management experiences with other candidates on the IFA's courses, which are invaluable to upcoming managers and shows their commitment to our country's football.
On the manager award itself there wasn't any doubt that Lennon was going to head the list of candidates. The Lurgan native won both domestic trophies on offer and some of the football his side produced was terrific to watch. The fact Celtic have the biggest budget in the league is a huge advantage but his players delivered with style and finesse.
Lennon has said himself previously that the magnitude of the job he took on was a risk because prior to his appointment Celtic had been all conquering. A lot of people were waiting for him to fail and that brings a different type of pressure and attention. Neil put his reputation on the line and delivered emphatically.
There was some talk that the side he took over was jaded and in the comfort zone with squad changes required for continual success.
Neil made some additions but continued to get a tune out of his best players, Scott Brown, Callum McGregor, Ryan Christie, James Forrest and Odsonne Edouard, using his man management skills and personality. His fab five led by example and more often than not delivered when it mattered. The problem he may have is holding onto them all for the new campaign.
The surprise package of the season was undoubtedly Motherwell who finished third in the Premiership outshining clubs with far superior budgets.
As is a common theme at Fir Park every summer, Robinson had a vast turnover of players yet he managed to gel his side together playing open and attractive football, showing great consistency. European football being back at Motherwell is testament to the job Stephen has done and it's no wonder he's attracting interest from many admirers.
Stephen doesn't have the luxury resources that some of his competitors possess but he closes the gap with the organisation of his team and players understanding their individual roles and responsibilities.
It was also good to see the emergence of another Northern Ireland success story in Liam Donnelly who not only earned further international recognition but also bagged himself 11 goals for Motherwell in the process.
Holt at Livingston and I were on the same IFA Pro Licence course and I know he was impressed by the structure of it, as was I. Very much like Stephen at Motherwell, Gary has got his team over performing. A lot of people had tipped Gary and his side for relegation so to finish in fifth place is great credit to his abilities to get the best out of his players.
Dick Campbell has taken Arbroath to safety in the Scottish Championship to finish as the best part-time team in Scotland. Dick has been around the game in Scotland for many years and deserves his nomination. I imagine it will be a tough call as the voters take everything into consideration. I'd go for a Northern Irishman!