The expectation at Formartine United is to be challenging for honours again, according to Jonny Smith.
Perennial competitors in the cup competitions, league success has so far evaded the Pitmedden side, but – in this shortened season – Smith believes the club are capable of putting up a strong case.
Smith is a new arrival after joining from Inverurie Locos this summer and is a previous title winner with Cove Rangers. The main reason for him joining Paul Lawson’s side was their winning mentality matched his.
He said: “When you have a look at the players that are here, we have to be competing.
“When I was at Cove, we always knew Formartine had the best players in the league and they were always seen as our biggest rivals.
“I still believe Formartine have the best players in the league.
“Consistency will be the biggest thing for everyone this season. It’s such a short campaign – the room for error is minimal.
“It’s a cliche, but we’ve got 15 cup finals. It’s not a case of Brora running away with it – there’s at least six teams that could be challenging if they put a few wins together.
“With the players we have, we’ve got to be up there challenging for silverware all the time.
“That’s the mentality the club has and I have. There’s no reason why we can’t go and win cups, go and win the league.
“That’s another reason why I was delighted to join.”
Formartine start away to Turriff United on Saturday, with Smith adding that the shortened nature of the season – each side will play 15 games – will make it more exciting for the neutral.
The Pitmedden side follow up their opener against Turriff with a home match against Lossiemouth on December 5 before taking on fellow league challengers Inverurie Locos at Harlaw Park on December 19.
Smith added: “It’s obviously not going to be the same as a normal season, but I think it’s going to make it more exciting.
“Normally in the Highland League, if you go on a five or six-game winning run, you shoot up the table.
“Do that now and you’re going to push high up, as it’s such a short season.
“I’m definitely excited to get going. I think everyone was delighted to get back training
“It was hard not knowing when we were going to be playing again.”