Stephen Clemence is often described as the consummate professional by Steve Bruce but the midfielder needed an enormous kick in his nether regions to galvanise his flagging Birmingham career.
By his own admission, Clemence endured an insipid opening performance of the campaign against Colchester and Bruce wielded he axe in brutal fashion.
An Achilles injury and a bout of cold turkey in the reserves was enough to convince Clemence he was culpable for his own omission from Bruce's starting line up.
So far out in the cold was Clemence that he was in severe danger of suffering from frostbite and it appeared his St Andrew's career might be in terminal decline.
For a player who hitherto, had never plied his trade outside the Premiership, this had a debilitating effect on confidence.
Yet self-flagellation was kept to a minimum and Clemence emerged from the wilderness at a time when Bruce's neck was on the chopping block against Derby. A huge dollop of professionalism, as well as a goal, ensured he was Bruce's saviour and Birmingham's manager has realised the error of his ways.
After an 11-game hiatus in the Championship, Clemence is now part of the St Andrew's furniture once again. It is a feeling he has yearned for and is not prepared to give up lightly.
Whilst Gary McSheffrey and Nicklas Bendtner continue to dominate the headlines, Clemence's performance at Plymouth tomorrow will be just as critical to the eventual outcome.
"I think you have always got to prove yourself to the manager, supporters and your team-mates every time you step onto the pitch," said Clemence.
"Perhaps I was too confident that I would play after relegation and that I would be an integral part of the team.
"I set myself high standards and wasn't happy with my own performance against Colchester on the first day of the season.
"The manager dropped me and it was probably the kick up the arse that I needed. I had to knuckle down and realise what it would take to be a regular this season.
"I knew I had to do better and I always feel I have something to prove when I play.
"I am just pleased to be playing regularly after a disappointing start to the season and I want to make it impossible for the manager to take the shirt off me again.
"Maybe it has taken the whole team about three months to find their feet as a lot of the squad hadn't played at this level before.
"A lot of the squad haven't played many games either so, understandably, it has taken time to gel."
The introduction of Clemence and midfield partner Fabrice Muamba has been pivotal to Birmingham's recent renaissance.
Prior to Clemence and Muamba linking up at the fulcrum of Blues' midfield, Bruce was trying to appease everyone with an all-singing, all-dancing style.
Whilst goals were prevalent at both ends of the pitch, it was apparent that his system needed some serious tweaking.
Bruce has since adopted a more pragmatic approach and been rewarded with three wins, three clean sheets and nine points.
All of which has ensured Birmingham can make the arduous journey to Plymouth this weekend in excellent spirits and on the cusp of an automatic promotion spot.
"Plymouth are full of energy and can be quite direct at times," continued Clemence.
"However, Martin (Taylor) and (Radhi) Jaidi have been a real force at the back and I would expect them to deal with it again.
"I know that as long we get into the thick of it in midfield, then we have got more than enough quality to open teams up.
"We had to tighten up, as we were leaving ourselves wide open in some games, but we seem to have done that now.
"Every side works their socks off in this division, but the quality obviously isn't the same as in the Premiership. It is, however, a very hard division to get out of and I can't see anyone running away with it."