He was the least obtrusive of the managers impressing in the lower leagues, but there was never any need for him to make a fuss about being in the running to replace Paulo Sergio as Hearts manager. The work of McGlynn is still so deeply admired at Tynecastle that the only discussions would have centred on dwelling upon any reason there might have been not to offer him the job.
Allies abound for him at the club where he made his name as a coach. John Murray, the director of football, is a long-time friend and colleague, while many of the backroom staff and directors would testify to the meticulous nature of McGlynn's work. Had there been any doubt, he sent a clutch of young players – including Denis Prychynenko, Jamie Walker and Jason Holt – back to Hearts better able to cope with stepping up to the first-team after a spell on loan at Raith Rovers last season.
There seems a neat fit to McGlynn's return to Tynecastle, although the one-year deal he signed yesterday is testament to the lack of security at a club where Vladimir Romanov is still capable of acting as an impulsive dictator. McGlynn has become the seventh permanent manager to serve under the Russian-born businessman, and the fact that he is replacing the man who guided Hearts to their Scottish Cup triumph over Hibernian last May only serves to highlight the fragility of the role.
Yet McGlynn has shown a tendency to take risks. He left Tynecastle in November 2006 when he was assistant to Valdas Ivanauskas, because he wanted to establish himself as a manager rather than a coach. Raith Rovers were a small club in need of care and attention, but it was still beyond his remit to redesign the interior of the stadium, ensuring that the dressing rooms were painted and an unused bar turned into a boot room. The attention to detail is typical of McGlynn, who was spotted filming Dundee United set-pieces during a scouting mission ahead of a Scottish Cup tie against the Tannadice side.
The story made Peter Houston, the United manager, laugh wryly. They were colleagues once at Tynecastle, and he knew that his old friend would ensure that all of the Raith players were fully briefed on the strengths and weaknesses of their top-flight opponents. A manager who was often seen joining the ground staff in forking the Stark's Park pitch on wet Saturday afternoons will always be considered unassuming, but it would be wrong to consider McGlynn as a meek figure.
Footballers are most adept at identifying weaknesses in managers and coaches, but his work at Raith was consistently impressive. McGlynn is a demanding manager, but only in the sense that he has little time for people who shirk their responsibility to their talent. Young players, in particular, found themselves being inspired to improve, and many of the players he once helped bring through at Tynecastle joined him at Raith later in their career.
"This is a club very close to my heart, having been here for 10 years previously," said McGlynn, who will formally meet his new squad for the first time when they report for pre-season training on July 2. "I know many of the players, particularly the younger players coming through at the club and have worked with a few of the boys at Raith Rovers. That is obviously the way the club is going to go so I am looking forward to getting started and working with the players."
The task for McGlynn is to manage the decline of the Hearts squad. Costs are being cut at Tynecastle, and the young players sent to Raith Rovers last season were being hardened up for life in the first-team squad. McGlynn will help them adjust to the demands of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, and the 50-year-old will feel prepared for the challenges he faces himself in adapting to the demands of the top flight and managing a club that will consider itself among the best-placed to challenge at the top end of the table.
"I've had five-and-a-half good years with Raith Rovers. It was a big wrench to leave," he said. "The players, the backroom staff, the directors and the fans; they have all been very good to me. But I am delighted to be here and I am very much looking forward to the challenge. It was time for a move; I am ambitious."