Ross County defender Tom Grivosti feels at ease among the Staggies’ senior players following his first team breakthrough last season.
Englishman Grivosti did not look back after being pitched in for his debut as a substitute in a 2-1 victory over Ayr United last October, going on to make 19 appearances in County’s Championship winning campaign.
The 20-year-old feels he was required to come of age when the Staggies were short of defensive options, but he reckons he is already reaping the benefits as he prepares for his first full season in the first team.
Grivosti said: “This is my first pre-season with the team fully. I feel fully involved now, where last season I came in halfway through and stayed in.
“Now I’ve had my half season and I’m in from the start I don’t feel like a younger player – I just feel like one of the lads.
“That’s football, you get your chance and you either sink or swim.
“Thankfully I did well and continued to be around the first team. You keep getting used to it as you go on.
“I feel like I’m part of the first team now which obviously helps.”
Grivosti faces added competition following the return of experienced central defenders Callum Morris and Liam Fontaine from long-term injuries, however the former Bolton Wanderers player is relishing the challenge of consolidating his place.
Grivosti added: “You need to have a good squad, it’s never just about the starting 11. It’s always about how good the squad is.
“Competition for places makes people play better, so hopefully that spurs us on.
“With the injuries we had last season, we needed the depth in the squad.
“Hopefully that will help us this season.”
Having been on the bench for Saturday’s 4-1 victory against Montrose, Grivosti hopes to feature in tonight’s Betfred Cup trip to Brechin City, with the Liverpool-born player aiming to step up his preparation for his maiden Premiership campaign.
He added: “The managers have said everyone is going to get an opportunity to play in this cup, so hopefully my time comes and I can get 90 minutes under my belt.
“When you have a successful season like last year, you just can’t wait to get back out there.
“We want to continue what we started last season, and hopefully do as well in the Premiership as we did in the Championship.
“We are looking to get as much as we can from these games in the cup and get through, and then we can start looking forward to the league.
“I can’t wait. Just thinking about Celtic Park and Ibrox and all those places, that’s what you dream of as a boy.
“I can’t wait to hopefully play in some of those games and just take it all in.”