Aberdeen winger Gary Mackay-Steven plans on hitting the ground running this season after being thrown in at the deep end on his debut for the Dons a year ago.
Mackay-Steven made his debut for the club just 24 hours after his arrival from Celtic but he believes being part of a full pre-season will ensure he is better prepared for the new campaign which starts once again in the Europa League on July 26 when Burnley visit Pittodrie.
The 27-year-old said: “Pre-season is just about getting the minutes in the leg and getting the rustiness out of the way.
“You have your holiday then you’re back into the first few games and you know everything is that little bit slower and you’re just getting into the swing of things. It takes a few games.
“But by the time the season comes around, having a full pre-season under my belt, is definitely beneficial.
“I’m massively looking forward to the new season. There’s a lot of exciting fixtures already, early on. It’s coming around and it’s only a few weeks away now. It’s really exciting and you just want to work hard in pre-season and get that platform.”
The excitement is building for Mackay-Steven and his Aberdeen team-mates as they prepare for the challenge of facing a Burnley side which finished seventh in the Premier League in England last season.
“It’s what you want as a player, to test yourself against the best teams. It’s a great draw for us in Europe.
“Burnley did very well in the Premier League last season, and it’ll be a massive fixture with a lot of scope on it. It’s one we’re looking forward to.
“It won’t be easy but we’re excited for it. Then we have Rangers to kick off the Premiership, which will be really exciting as well.
“Excitement is the main factor for the Burnley game. It’s going to be tasty, it’ll be a big occasion and I don’t think we could have got a better draw.
“We can’t wait really, but there’s hard work to come before that to make sure we’re ready for it.”
The Dons continued their build-up for the new campaign with a 1-0 win against Falkirk at Gayfield in Arbroath. The first team will be in action again on Sunday when they travel to St Johnstone to provide the opposition for Chris Millar’s testimonial.
Mackay-Steven said: “Pre-season is probably the most important time of the season, in terms of getting that base level fitness. You get the minutes in the legs, you get your fitness right up, and then you’re ready for the season.
“You want as many games, as many different types of opponents. You want to work really hard, which is the bottom line, and get fit and be ready for the test ahead.”