Ross County winger Josh Mullin reckons the Staggies will have no better opportunity than this season to catch the Premiership’s leading clubs cold.
County begin the new season at home to Motherwell on Monday, with Premiership matches initially taking place behind closed doors due to coronavirus.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday provided an indicative date of September 14 for the limited reopening of stadiums, although capacities will be restricted due to physical distancing measures.
Mullin feels those measures will have a more profound effect when the Staggies travel to the likes of Parkhead and Ibrox, where he feels the lack of usual backing for the home team could play into the Dingwall side’s hands.
Mullin said: “This is probably the best opportunity we’ll get to go and take something off the bigger teams, without fans in the stadiums.
“Hopefully, we can use that to our advantage. Obviously we want to go to places like Ibrox and Parkhead and play in front of the fans.
“Not only does that help Celtic and Rangers, it helps boys like myself who want to play in front of those crowds.
“But I think this season, not having that, may mean at times if they get slack or sloppy they’ll not have that support there to get on their backs and ramp them up a few gears.
“We need to take advantage of that and go and play on the front foot, and not let them get into the rhythm.
“We’ll be looking to try and take something from these games, which we always do.
“But I think now is our best opportunity to do that.”
County have only played three bounce matches against fellow Premiership sides in their preparation for the new campaign, however former Livingston player Mullin feels they have been an important exercise in preparing Stuart Kettlewell’s men for playing in front of no fans.
Mullin added: “We’ve played a few bounce games, including Aberdeen at their training ground then Livingston and Celtic at the weekend, as well as a few among ourselves at our own stadium.
“It’s not got that same feel to it, but those games give you a feel for what to expect.
“As a smaller club within the Premiership, it is for us to try and take advantage of that while we can and see what we can get out of these games.”
County would typically have racked up four competitive matches in the Betfred Cup group stage ahead of the league kick-off, however Mullin feels in fine shape for the new campaign.
The 27-year-old added: “It feels different without those cup games behind us. Sometimes we’ve used them for added match fitness.
“Going into both games at the weekend all the boys were feeling good and feeling fresh. We can use that as a positive for Monday coming.”
County will tonight launch their new online TV channel with a show previewing the new campaign at 7.30pm, ahead of the live broadcasts of matches which will be part of the Staggies’ virtual season tickets this term.