The Dundee manager said he had known highs and lows but felt the success, when there were doubts about his future as recently as March, eclipses everything else in football to date.
The 36-year-old has kept his nerve and led Dundee back into the top tier at the second attempt – but the first time in which they were allowed to complete the season. A 4-2 aggregate win over Kilmarnock sealed the club’s return.
“It means so much to everyone at the club,” said McPake. “I don’t think it will sink in but as a young manager it means the world.
“It is the proudest moment of my career because I have had many sore ones. I have failed but I will always dream.
“At the start of the season it was my dream to take this club back into the Premiership and now it is real. It is all about the players and to a man they have been unbelievable.”
McPake paid tribute to his senior players at the club. Skipper Charlie Adam, 35, was signed in September and the boyhood Dundee fan vowed to lead Dundee into the Premiership. Liam Fontaine, meanwhile, arrived in November having been released by Ross County and helped shore up the defence.
“We’ve got a player in Charlie Adam who’s played for Liverpool and has caps for Scotland, we have Liam Fontaine who’s played over 200 games in the English Championship but these are guys who still want to learn,” said McPake.
“The senior players have been fantastic and we have a great group of young kids and great staff. So the hunger and belief was always there. It’s all down to the players as they carry out the game plan and they deserve the credit.
“I’m not surprised how comfortable it was and I’m not being arrogant, I just believed in our form. I believed in the way we were playing and I believed in my players.
“I knew with the big game players we have that we had a great chance. The aim for next season was to go up and compete – we will strengthen but we need to be loyal to the players who are already here as well."