Dundee ace Charlie Adam cannot wait to take part in next season’s Scottish Premiership shootout now all of Scotland’s big guns are back together in the top flight.
The Dens Park side have followed Hearts in reclaiming their place among the nation’s major powers.
James McPake’s side were quickest to the trigger as they blasted their way past Kilmarnock to claim play-off glory.
Their 4-2 aggregate triumph means Scotland’s traditional “big seven” – Aberdeen, Celtic, Dundee, Dundee United, Hearts, Hibernian and Rangers – are back together in the same league for the first time since 2005.
And that will be enough to convince former Rangers, Liverpool and Scotland playmaker Adam to put off thoughts of retirement for another year.
The 35-year-old is ready to go again next season and he is already setting his sights on the tantalising derby duels against city rivals United and showdowns with the rest of the country’s top sides.
“As a football club, as players, staff, this is phenomenal – it’s what I signed up for last summer,” said the Dens skipper. “I’m delighted it’s managed to happen. This is as big as anything for me.
“This is my boyhood club. I stood on the terraces watching. So to captain the team and be able to get the opportunity for promotion back to the Premiership is just incredible.
“Just to play for the club was special for me. But to then realise we had the opportunity to get promoted? It’s what dreams are made of.
“Now I can’t wait for next season. I’m looking forward to it and I’m excited.
“We have a few big challenges ahead. Now that we’re in the division, I think that this will be the best Premiership for a long, long time. All the big boys are in it – Rangers, Celtic, Hibs, Hearts and Aberdeen plus we’ll have the return of the Dundee derby. It’s going to be great.
“We’ll just have to dust ourselves down, go again and see what happens.
“I’m already signed up for next season so I’m hoping there’s life left in the old legs. It’s going to be a big test but we have a good board, one which has backed the manager. James has been excellent and done an outstanding job here.
“He’s also been phenomenal for me, on and off the pitch. He’s given me freedom and it’s been a joy to play for him.
“I dreamed of playing for my boyhood club in the top division and we’ve managed to get them there. It probably won’t sink in until I sober up on Tuesday, when I’ll realise what’s going to happen. Right now I’m just dying for next season’s fixtures to come out!”
Dundee had brushes with top-flight opposition this season but came up short in two cup ties with Hibernian and St Johnstone, losing by the odd goal on both occasions.
And Adam admits McPake will need reinforcements next season if they want to ensure they do not slip straight back down through the trapdoor.
“We can’t stand still – we need to build again and the manager will be looking to bring players in to freshen things up but that’s fine,” he said.
“This is our opportunity to go and play against the best clubs and players in Scotland. We did well – up to a point, usually 70 minutes – against St Johnstone and Hibs in the cups so we know we can do it on our day but there’s more to it than that.
“This will be a great experience for the boys who’ve never played in the Premiership before.”