Ross County midfielder Harry Paton feels ready for the fresh challenge of establishing himself in the Staggies first team.
Canadian Paton made just seven appearances after joining from Hearts last summer, scoring once, and spending the first half of the campaign with Stenhousemuir.
The 21-year-old accepts the consistency of his fellow midfielders limited his opportunities in County’s Championship title winning campaign, however after impressing in Tuesday’s 4-0 victory over Brechin City, Paton is hungry to force his way into the plans of co-managers Steven Ferguson and Stuart Kettlewell.
Paton said: “It was a wee bit frustrating because you want to play every week, but the boys did extremely well in winning the league so you can’t really say anything.
“Hopefully this year I can push a bit more and get some more minutes.
“It is a fresh start. I’ve worked with the managers all last season and they’ve worked me on things I can improve.
“I’ve definitely taken that on board over the summer and really focused on this pre-season. Hopefully that will bring rewards.
“They’re always there to help, always answering my questions. When I train, they always give me wee pointers to look at.
“I enjoy the feedback from them and I always listen closely to what they have to say.”
Paton did not make the breakthrough at Hearts, however his two-year stint at Tynecastle has made him all the more determined to grasp his second opportunity of playing in the top-flight this term.
Paton added: “It’s the best thing about this season, moving up to the top-flight and trying to prove I can play there.
“I was in and around the first team at Hearts. I was on the bench for a few games, but never quite got the chance to make my debut.
“It was frustrating, but it was a very big squad they had.
“This is my next chance to make my mark in the top division and see how I go from there. I’m excited by it.
“I definitely think I’m capable and the boys are capable – and I think we’ll do well this season.”
Paton has made 53 appearances across two separate loan spells with Stenny, who suffered relegation to League 2 last season, and the former Fulham youth player feels his lower league experience can prove valuable, adding: “It’s a lot different at that level. Obviously it is a lower division, but very different from the reserve football I played at Hearts.
“You’re playing against men and games really matter. It definitely helped, learning to play against older boys.
“The fans seemed to love me there and I did actually enjoy my time at what was a really welcoming club.
“It was cool – they all loved me.”