Craig Levein has confessed to "unbelievable guilt" over quitting Dundee United for the Scotland job.
His December departure sparked a mini-crisis at Tannadice, with the club taking just one point from their next three matches.
But caretaker-manager got United's season back on course and they finished third in the SPL and have Saturday's Active Nation Scottish Cup to look forward to.
Levein told the Scottish Sun: "I felt unbelievable guilt when they had a little wobble. I'd left them and they were floundering a little bit.
"It's hard to explain how difficult it can be to halt things once they start to slide. They have come through it and I feel they deserve all the credit they get.
"Housty managed to calm himself down and get back to focusing on the football."
Levein also hailed captain Andy Webster, who is on loan from Rangers.
"Andy also had a massive influence at that time," he said.
"He had the benefit of having been through that scenario before as the same thing had happened when Andy was at Hearts and I left for Leicester halfway through a season.
"He spoke to the players and said they needed to get focused back on playing and doing what they are good at. It coincided with Housty really getting a grip on things again.
"The only thing that bothers me now is they have actually got better since I left and that's a bit annoying!"