Former Ross County midfielder Paul Lawson feels the Staggies must look to build on the job they started on their return to the Premiership last term.
County ended the season in 10th place on a points per game basis following their Championship title triumph the previous year, having remained above the relegation zone throughout the campaign.
The Staggies still had eight games to play before the season was cut short due to coronavirus, and Lawson feels Stuart Kettlewell’s men will be eager to show they belong higher than last season’s finish suggested.
Formartine United manager Lawson said: “When they came up, their main aim was to stay up initially.
“They have obviously had a bit of change on the management side, but not too much. They will want to build on last season. It was a respectable finish for them.
“They were left wondering where they could have finished if the season had carried on. I think they have to just go and look to improve on last season.
“It’s important to get off to a good start, but everyone wants to get a win on that opening day.”
Following a successful period with the Staggies, in which he reached the Scottish Cup final in 2010 before winning the First Division title two years later, Lawson left Victoria Park to join Monday’s opponents Motherwell in 2013.
Lawson is full of admiration for the job done by Well boss Stephen Robinson, who guided the Fir Park outfit to third last year.
Lawson added: “When I joined the club Stuart McCall had done a similar job. They were in Europe, and fighting at the top end of the table on a fraction of the budget of some of the other clubs in the league.
“The club wants to be up there, even though they are up against it in terms of budgets, but they work really hard behind the scenes to get a team on the park to compete.
“They certainly did that last season. In a lot of people’s eyes they probably shouldn’t be there, but it just shows what the rewards can be.”
Lawson will be covering Monday’s Victoria Park encounter as a pundit for the Staggies’ new TV channel, and he says the lack of competitive action makes it difficult to call.
The 36-year-old added: “I’m looking forward to seeing two former clubs, although a lot has changed since I was there.
“We are straight into it. The teams have played a few friendlies, but even that has been slightly different as they have been playing against each other.
“That’s all they could do to get their match fitness up so that was probably strange for the players, although it probably gave them a little insight into how it’s going to be without any fans.”
“We saw right away when the German football started, the amount of away wins that happened.
“You shouldn’t say it, but when you are getting encouragement you probably run that extra yard, or chase back.
“It does have an impact, but ultimately the boys will be going out on Monday night knowing they are now playing for three points.
“It’s going to be difficult, but I think they would rather that than no football at all.”