Brian Graham believes the bite in Ross County’s training sessions augurs well for their Premiership return.
Graham is locked in a four-way fight to be chosen to face Hamilton Accies in next Saturday’s league opener.
Graham, Billy Mckay, Ross Stewart and new capture Lee Erwin are all scrapping for the jerseys, with those high competition levels mirrored right through the squad.
That has manifested in some ferocious battles in the training ground five-a-side matches, and Graham is loving every minute of it.
He said: “It is good for all the strikers. We’ve all come back really fit and we all look sharp.
“The competition is fierce, but that’s what brings the very best out of you.
“We’ve four great strikers and I think it bodes well for the season ahead.
“Wherever I’ve been in football, it has never been an easy ride, there’s always been intense competition.
“Last time I was at County I had Alex Schalk and Liam Boyce to contend with.
“At Hibs it was the likes of Jason Cummings and at United we had Nadir Ciftci, who came in flying. It brings out the best of you in training because it can never be half-hearted. You need to work hard every day.”
Graham admits squad rotation has made it almost impossible to guess who will start the opener at home to Hamilton.
He said: “Everybody is desperate to be in that first selection for the Hamilton game, but it’s great because training has upped another level as well.
“There’s plenty of bite in training but that brings the best out of us, that wee bit of fire and will to win.
“You can’t go into training thinking ‘I don’t really care if we lose this five-a-side’. That kills me.
“I want to win every game.”