Ross County skipper Marcus Fraser says his Staggies team-mates must deal with the pressure of being among the favourites for the Championship title this season.
County begin life in the second-tier on Saturday when they host Alloa Athletic, in their first league match since their relegation from the Premiership last year.
Having retained the nucleus of the squad that went down, as well as adding eight new faces, the Dingwall side are widely predicted to be among the frontrunners for promotion this term.
Defender Fraser says his side must cope with the burden of expectation, and he said: “There’s always going to be a wee bit of pressure. As players I think it’s important, we know we need to take that on board. We need to take it out on to the pitch and take responsibility for it.
“I think all the boys know what our task is for the season, we need to just win games and that starts on Saturday.
“It is different from when Ross County were in the Premiership, where maybe we’re fighting relegation, or trying to get into the top-six, or whatever.
“We know this season we might have more of the ball than we did last season, so we need to try and use that to our advantage, move it quick and create chances.”
Former Celtic player Fraser has been permanently handed the captain’s armband following the departure of Andrew Davies to Hartlepool in the summer.
Having spent much of last season playing as a central defender, Fraser has been earmarked for the right back berth following discussions with co-managers Stuart Kettlewell and Steven Ferguson.
The 24-year-old has made 133 appearances since signing for County in January 2015, and he hopes to come of age as skipper, adding: “It’s a huge responsibility and it’s a pleasure doing it. I take full responsibility and all the boys are behind me.
“I look forward to that, and I think it’s going to be a positive season.
“I have been at Ross County now for a few years. Before I came I had never played many games.
“Jim McIntyre and Billy Dodds obviously saw something in me, and I thank them for that. Jim is a really good manager and Billy is a really good coach, and they were really good with me.
“As before, they know how highly I rate them, and they obviously put me on the map and trusted me to go and play first team games. It has carried on from there.
“I just look forward to working under two managers that I think will do really well for Ross County.
“In the last few years I have stepped about a number of positions. I have had a chat, and they see me as playing right back.
“Of course, if there’s going to be injuries I can stand in at different positions. As it stands just now it’s looking like I’m going to be playing right back for most of the season, which is good for me.
“As a player, personally, from time-to-time I think about how much I’ve come on.
“I think I have come on leaps and bounds from my first game in terms of my decision-making, my awareness on the pitch and on the ball as well. That’s also a credit to the people who have been working with me.
“I’m really enjoying it so hopefully I can keep progressing and continue doing that.”