Jamie Masson says Cove are going into the new campaign to “compete for” the League Two title.
The midfielder returned to pre-season with his team-mates on Saturday as Cove prepare for their first season in the SPFL.
The high of gaining promotion out of the Highland League has not yet subsided and is in stark contrast to last summer, when Cove lost to Cowdenbeath in the pyramid play-off final.
Masson said: “After my first year, losing to Cowdenbeath, I just felt brutal.
“Last season I was buzzing and we’re not going up to this league just to make up the numbers.
“We’re going to win every game and try to compete for the league.
“We’ll take each game as it comes. There’ll be a challenge and test in every game, when some games in the Highland League weren’t.
“You need to be at your best.”
Masson hit top form in the play-offs as Cove cruised past Lowland champions East Kilbride and Berwick – the SPFL’s bottom side. He scored at home to Kilby and in both legs against Berwick, including two beauties, which has led to his team-mates calling him “play-off Masson”.
After Cove’s dreams were realised at Berwick’s Shielfield Park, the ex-Aberdeen and Formartine United man enjoyed his summer.
He said: “The bus journey home was mental. It was a good laugh.
“Then we went out together and all went out on the Sunday as well.
“Then that was it, finished, ‘I’ll see you for pre-season’.
“That was five weeks ago and it was good to get a break after the long season.
“We were texting each other last week. Everybody was saying they wanted to get back, so there’s been good attitude with the lads.
“I go to the gym and I kept myself ticking over.”
Before co-boss Graeme Mathieson put his team through their paces at the Balmoral on Saturday, Masson squeezed in two trips overseas in his month or so off and added: “I went to Marbella and Dublin, so it was a good break.
“I’ve sweated out the Guinesses now!
“I was in Marbella with my mates from back home in Fraserburgh and I visited one of the lads I used to play football with in Dublin.”
The fixtures for Cove’s maiden campaign in Scottish league football were announced last week, with Edinburgh City in the Granite City for August 3’s curtain-raiser.
Fraserburgh-raised Masson, who is also “buzzing” to take on Peterhead on League Cup business before then, said: “Strachs (Ryan Strachan) put them in the whatsapp chat and we all had a look at them.
“I’m just buzzing to get going now. We need to get off to a good start, so we’ll get a good pre-season down us and a few games to get the boys fit and kick on from there.
“We’ve got three friendlies and then go on to Peterhead (in the Betfred Cup).
“We want to test ourselves and see how good we are, so it’s good to play against teams who are higher up than us.
“Last year it was good for us and hopefully we come out of ready.”