"It was never a gamble for us," says Peter Grant, confidently. "We knew he was a fantastic player and an even better professional."

Kevin O'Hara is suddenly the name on everyone's lips and the plaudits for the Championship's form player have poured in from every corner of Scottish football.

But, fresh from collecting an awards double swoop with O'Hara, Grant wants to set the record straight.

"For everyone at the club, it has been no surprise," he tells Advertiser Sport. "Everyone else seems to have been asking where has Kevin O'Hara been? Just like they did with Jamie MacDonald.

"Hold on a minute, where were they when we were the ones who took them on? We've had five or six clubs wanting to take Kevin O'Hara and offering money for him.

"But, we took a chance on him and it's fantastic for the club. It's alright saying it now but we said it when nobody wanted them.

"People say that Kevin went to Stenhousemuir and East Fife and say he struggled, but how do they know he struggled?

"Did they watch every game? Did the management play a style of football to suit him? Maybe the management team even took him out of the team, if he missed a couple of chances.

"That's why you have got to be brave on your judgments.

"People forget that nobody spoke about Kevin O'Hara and nobody spoke about Jamie MacDonald at the start of the season."

It's always been to Grant's immense credit that he was prepared to take the chance on O'Hara when no-one else did.

O'Hara only ever wanted the opportunity to prove careless words as a teenager towards Dean Shiels would not be what defined his life. It was Grant who was prepared to give him that.

The 54-year-old just needs to look back at his own career and the opportunity David Hay gave him at Celtic – when Grant, as a spotty 18-year-old, was handed his debut against Rangers – to know how important it is to give people a chance in life.

Grant, speaking to Advertiser Sport shortly after watching his boyhood club open up a seven point gap at the top of the Premiership, says: "You've got to remember that I made my Celtic senior debut at 18 and I had only trained once or twice with the first team.

"The manager said to me to come in early and I thought it was just a case that the reserve game had been changed but it turned out I was playing with the first team.

"All I remember the manager saying to me was that I wouldn't be playing if he didn't think I was good enough. I've always remembered that."

It's little wonder that Grant's own coaching career has been defined by chances. Be it Jermain Defoe at Bournemouth – where one of England's finest ever goalscorers burst onto the scene – or Kris Renton making his Norwich debut at just 16, he says he has never been scared to put his trust in people.

O'Hara is just the headline grabbing example in a season where Grant has also handed teenagers Nathan Gilhooly and Cammy O'Donnell their Alloa debuts.

He continues: "You cannot give someone confidence and you have to just give them the belief and space to play their own game.

"If someone makes an error doing what you are asking them to do, I have absolutely no problem.

"When Kevin O'Hara was going in and missing chances earlier in the season, was he getting more opportunities than he is now? Probably not but he's learned to be that bit more clinical.

"That's the role of the manager to make sure no one else gets sucked into what everyone's thinking and to make the right decisions."

A manager lives and dies by his choices and it's no secret murmurs of discontent could be heard at the Recs when they found themselves adrift at the foot of the table.

However, the Wasps have turned things around and Grant's single-minded belief in his players was recognised with January's award.

"The award is the icing on the cake for the players and not me," he says. "It's only good for your own ego and I'm no different from anyone else in liking that.

"But, if it wasn't for the players and the guys who work in the background, then there's no award.

"That's the culture the club is built on and no-one has taken their foot off the gas at any time this season.

"For me, it's easy to keep the players motivated because they do not hide away and are always prepared to do what is needed.

"There's that togetherness that makes it so enjoyable to go to your work. I'm in everyday but I love when the players come in and they are like my kids.

"They know I am going to rant and rave at them at times, but I am also going to trust them to do what's right."

For O'Hara, he has no doubt his purple patch – where he became Alloa's first player post World War 2 to score braces in three consecutive games – is down to the trust shown in him by Grant.

The 21-year-old always been clear that, despite offers flooding in from full-time teams for his signature, he wasn't interested in going anywhere and his only concern is paying back Grant's faith.

"I have known the gaffer for a while because I played with his son Peter at Falkirk and it's great to work for him," O'Hara said.

"He has such love and passion for the game and he has definitely brought my game on and he's bringing the best out in me.

"I didn't do it in the early part of my career but playing every week has given me confidence to find that goal touch."