A few have had it chanted at them over the years, but yesterday Alex McLeish was willing to accept that the description was literally true. McLeish had strayed into the world of horseracing for the day having been invited to help make the draw for the Ayr Gold Cup.
He patiently contributed through the long process, pausing as each horse's owner had a full minute to decide which stall their runner would go in before the next one was drawn. McLeish's affection for racing has taken him to a couple of meetings recently, but the nuances of the draw went over his head.
Temporary unemployment leaves a manager with time on his hands. As well as the horses, McLeish will also attend the Ryder Cup in Chicago next week. What would be once-in-a-lifetime experiences for most sports fans amount to the equivalent of treading water for a manager as experienced as McLeish. He misses work. While others at Ayr Racecourse were chattering about the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup festival – day one of which had been rained off – McLeish settled into a corner to discuss football.
He had not realised Rangers' Ramsdens Cup tie against Queen of the South was shown live by BBC Alba on Tuesday evening, or else he would have watched it. Instead, on learning that his old club had been humbled and beaten, McLeish assumed his friend Ally McCoist had selected a weakened team. Not so. Rangers were beaten because they are a weakened club, not because a list of established names were omitted.
The result was the latest in a series of embarrassments for McCoist, who has failed to win at Peterhead, Berwick Rangers and Annan in the Irn-Bru third division. The reservoir of goodwill towards McCoist at Ibrox is as abundant as the Caspian Sea but, at this rate, it is being rapidly drained. "You know the buck stops with you," said McLeish of the reality of being in charge of a struggling team. "There's no doubt about it. It becomes a lonely place when you don't get results.
"I'm a bit uncomfortable speaking about one of my great pals in football, and saying that people are going to come for him, but suffice to say that Coisty will know, having worked with Walter Smith, and having worked under him as a player, that when you don't get a result as a Rangers manager – and he'll have seen my experience as well – you are going to come under severe pressure.
"When I saw the Queen of the South result I thought maybe Coisty had just played a young team, or something like that, trying to find every reason – not using the word 'excuse' – for it, and then I heard it was quite a strong squad so it looks like they are still adjusting. When you're the manager, when you don't get the result they come for you."
He tells a story of the gentle warning Dick Advocaat gave him after a major win early in his management of Rangers. McLeish had been in the job only a matter of weeks when he recorded a League Cup semi-final victory over Celtic en route to winning the final against Ayr United. Advoccat, Rangers' director of football at the time, had a quiet word. "He said 'great, fantastic, but let me tell you one thing, some day they will come for you'. You think 'this is great, it's going to be a magical career', and then you get some poor results. You hope you get a bit of understanding.
"But when you lose a lot of quality, you have to cut costs, and you've still got to try and remain competitive, that makes it slightly different for Coisty. He's had to come through a lot and to go down to that division has obviously been a culture shock for everybody. But the Rangers fans have been magnificent in their support of the club.
"I have total empathy for him. Most managers have been through it, Sir Alex Ferguson went through it in his early days at Manchester United, probably for the only time in his whole career, but there's no hiding place when you're the manager. And it's all about results."
"You just had the feeling that Rangers would romp it and I am like everybody else, like every other Rangers fan, and thought they would sail back up. But the bottom line is when you drop down divisions you have to cut costs and you do lose a lot of quality. Just because of the name Rangers people expect that you're going to win. I'm not saying Coisty has not got any quality but he has lost a lot and he is having to rely on big leaders like Lee McCulloch to rally these boys and get their heads round playing in that division. I am confident Coisty will get them out of this rut or whatever it is they are in. He's just got to ride this storm now."
McLeish is currently "giving his brain a rest" having been out of work since his Aston Villa contract was terminated in May. The job offers he has received so far have not been right. Another one will be, soon enough. At 53, he has more to offer than busman's holidays and trying to work out what he's doing in horseracing.