However you define success, there is a definite knack to sustaining it, and both of Saturday's protagonists have proved significantly better at mastering it than the rest of our provincial clubs have throughout the last quarter of a century.
Motherwell, only Scotland's 25th-most-populated town – even if they can also draw upon support from surrounding areas such as Wishaw – has sustained a team in the Scottish top flight for each of the last 28 seasons. Okay, so they were saved from relegation on a technicality in 2003, but they go into the conclusive weeks of their 28th consecutive top-flight campaign equal on points with Rangers and already seeming a safe bet to be appearing in the first Champions League qualifying tie in their history come June. Over in Kilmarnock, Scotland's 14th biggest settlement, the local team will celebrate the 20th anniversary of their elevation to the top flight by parading the Scottish Communities League Cup around Rugby Park.
Such consistency is eye-catching, and must be particularly galling to inhabitants of less successful Scottish footballing towns. Ayr, a bigger town than both Kilmarnock and Motherwell, has gone 35 years without hosting top-tier football, while it will be 25 years this summer since such action last graced Greenock.
The answer to the self-perpetuating success stories of Ayrshire and Lanarkshire is at once complex and utterly simplistic. On one level, it boils down to scouts, youth coaches, players and first-team managers all doing their jobs well. Since going into administration in April 2002, for instance, Motherwell have made a profit in nine of the last 10 seasons.
It is also about utilising whatever opportunities come your way, though. Success breeds success, after all, and with both clubs ensconced within the SFA system, it was little surprise that, when the association got round to finalising the sites for their seven-strong network of Performance Schools this season, two of the schools in question should be Grange Academy in Kilmarnock and Braidhurst High School in Motherwell.
Tomorrow, however, will be all about the first teams. "The more you get the more you want," said Kenny Shiels, the Kilmarnock manager. "I think Motherwell's priority has changed. At first, their remit was to get into the top six and now they are into third and are quite secure there, they are looking at second place and the expectations change.
"Now the key for Motherwell and their supporters is to get above Rangers. When the league is won won't affect the Motherwell supporters, although obviously they want Rangers beaten on Sunday to enhance their own chances."
Exposure to the Champions League presents a historic opportunity for Motherwell, while Kilmarnock – 22 months after playing Falkirk in a relegation decider – arrive fresh from taking Celtic's scalp in Sunday's Hampden showpiece. However, Shiels feels no-one should read too much into one season. "I don't think you can say that, on one result, the Old Firm have been threatened," the Rugby Park manager said. "Hearts won the Scottish Cup in 2006 and Dundee United in 2010, so it happens every couple of years. But we are much smaller than Dundee United and Hearts, which makes it a big deal for us. Everyone is thinking, 'that shows a small team can do it.' But let's face it, it's a cup. You can be lucky in one cup, but there is no way we will win the league. We can never achieve that, we are realistic enough to know that."
The backdrop to the match is an increasingly terse stand-off between the so-called Gang of Ten and Celtic over the future shape of the SPL but regardless of such debates, the Northern Irishman feels the provincial Scottish game is in rude health. "You guys don't know how lucky you are," Shiels said. "If you look at clubs with comparative clubs to us in League One with crowds of 5000, the product is nowhere near what ours is. I watched a match between St Mirren and Hearts last night and what a great cup tie it was. I even watched Glasgow Uni playing Napier Uni in the semi-final of the Scottish Universities Cup and it was good.
"Go and watch Huddersfield against Chesterfield in English League One, however, and you won't see that. Or watch Leicester City, who have spent millions. They just hump the ball from back to front and bully teams. I think we are too hard on ourselves.
"The voting system is over my head," he added. "I think those are decisions which need to be made by the hierarchy at the upper end of the club. People like the chairman [Michael Johnston] and people who are intelligent and know the whole politics of Scottish football. But I also think it should be done by people who haven't got a vested interest. If you are chairman of Kilmarnock what's right for you and what's right for football won't always be the same."
Whatever the future financial distribution of Scottish football is, expect clubs like Kilmarnock and Motherwell to continue providing added bang for their bucks.