The premature end of last season came at the wrong time for Billy Mckay, however the Ross County striker is eager to pick up from where he left off when the new campaign starts.
Mckay netted five goals in the final six matches before last term was halted due to coronavirus, with doubles against Livingston and Aberdeen helping him to pick up the Ladbrokes Premiership player of the month award for February.
The Staggies will return to competitive action for the first time in nearly five months when they host Motherwell on August 3 in their opening Premiership fixture.
Despite the long lay-off, Mckay is taking confidence from his goalscoring flurry towards the end of a season in which he netted 11 times in total.
Mckay said: “I had found my form at the end of the season. We had six or seven games left and I was looking to add to my goal tally, but hopefully I can save them for this season.
“I have to make sure I am going to be in the team against Motherwell.
“I believe I will be and if I start the season well then finishing the last season like I did shows I can still do it and I want to try and replicate that for the rest of the season.”
County were 10th in the table with eight matches remaining last season, with six points separating them from bottom club Hearts, and two above Hamilton Accies who occupied the relegation play-off position.
Mckay rejects the notion the end of the season came at a good time for the Staggies, with the 31-year-old adding: “We firmly believed we would have been fine. We had St Mirren, Hearts and Hamilton to play before the split, and we found we had found a good shape and form just before lockdown.
“We believe we would have been fine.
“We are going to test ourselves and show everyone we deserve to be there – not only to compete but also to improve and move up the league.
“Of course, it is not a nice situation for Hearts. It hasn’t gone down well and it is still on going and it is not great for Scottish football.
“For a player, like myself, you have to focus on your own club.
“We are in the Scottish Premiership next season and we will be looking to retain our status.”
Staggies manager Stuart Kettlewell has made five new signings so far this summer, and Mckay is confident the Dingwall side can make further progress next term.
He added: “We have recruited really well. A few boys have come up from England and have done very well.
“We saw that against Aberdeen, where Regan Charles-Cook popped up for a goal and hopefully he can continue that.
“Last season was our first back in the top flight and it was about staying there.
“Now it is about progressing. With the signings and squad we have, if we make a good start I believe we can do well.”