Malky Mackay reckons hard work and sleep in Italy will combine to ensure Ross County hit the ground running for the new season.
The Scottish Premiership’s sixth-placed finishers last term are in Verona for a week of training ahead of the Premier Sports Cup kick-off at Buckie Thistle on July 9.
Manager Mackay has opted not to source potential friendly opponents while abroad, with the unpredictable nature of some bounce games putting him off.
He would much rather his group, including new signings Yan Dhanda, Victor Loturi and George Harmon, put in the hard yards and benefit from an afternoon nap to get them fully up to speed.
He said: “Back in the day, there would be a fairly long period off then you’d be back and there would be six to eight weeks before the season starts.
“Now, we are right into the League Cup and we have to look at part of that as games that will be competitive and we have got to go straight into it.
“From my experience of games abroad in pre-season, they can be really random. The pitches might not be ready, because like everywhere else in Europe, everyone is doing work on their pitches right now.
“You can often be travelling upwards of an hour to get to a pitch and the other team are also travelling for an hour or so. You also don’t really know the team you’re playing against. It can be anything from the Dog and Duck to Real Madrid.
“I have had a go at both in my time and both of those are not pleasant. Injuries can happen and you also have to be careful with the day you play.
“You prepare the day before, you play the second day and the next day is for recovery, so there are three of your seven days gone.
“The massive benefit for us is to have players get a sleep in the afternoon. We can hit them with 10 heavy sessions over the five days because they can get a rest period in the middle of the day.”
Team work leads to new arrivals
Mackay, who is likely to announce more signings this week, explained the work which goes on behind the scenes to get deals over the line.
He said: “You look at each one (player targets) individually and the most important thing is communication.
“That involves myself, Enda (Barron, head of analysis) and (club secretary) Fiona MacBean in terms of the structure of getting the deals done, as well as our chief executive Steven Ferguson, who talks to the opposition club in terms of finances.
“The player and the agent are all involved with Enda and myself, with Don (Cowie, assistant manager) talking to the player.
“The club at the other end then have to decide what they want to do, as well as the player and the agent. There are so many factors.
“You have to ensure you keep the lines of communication open, so there is a dialogue as to what’s actually happening.
“If there is a flow of communication between all the parties then everyone is pretty clear during that period of whether you are going to sign someone or not.”