Two-goal James Grady says the motivation to silence their critics helped Gretna clinch their third league title in a row in a dramatic finale.
James Grady and Brooks Mileson were all smiles at the end
"We have had our detractors but showed the desire, the hunger to prove them wrong," said the striker after the 3-2 First Division win over Ross County.
"It's a magnificent achievement and we deserve to be up.
"Everybody had written us off, but we won this league over the season and we have shown the character of this club."
Assistant manager David Irons had continued to lead the club out following the recent absence through illness of Rowan Alexander.
They lost a 12-point lead to go into the final game only one point clear of St Johnstone.
The Perth side beat Hamilton Accies 4-3 and would have been promoted themselves had Gretna not scored that last-gasp winner.
The last 10 minutes I could hardly stand up
Gretna owner Brooks Mileson
Former Dunfermline midfielder Irons was almost lost for words by the high-drama finish.
"It was just unbearable at times," he said.
"But these boys showed ... to go to that level, to go to that limit, to push themselves, is just unbelievable.
"They're magnificent, absolutely magnificent."
Owner Brooks Mileson had defied doctor's orders to travel to the match.
He has been seriously ill recently but was delighted to have made the effort.
"I'm absolutely exhausted," he said. "The last 10 minutes I could hardly stand up.
"The legs had gone and everything had gone. When that goal went in, I thought I was going to fall over.
"We do everything the hard way, everything.
"It's just unbelievable really. It's proved we could do it and I think the boys have been absolutely tremendous today.
"We went down, we came back, they equalised and we kept on going.
"James promised me today that he would score, but to score two and get us the championship is just unbelievable."