Mitch Megginson does not want Cove Rangers to let the occasion affect their League 2 debut against Edinburgh City.
The Balmoral Stadium will play host to the promoted Highland champions’ SPFL bow on Saturday and hopes are high for the campaign after last weekend’s 3-0 thumping of full-time League 1 side Raith Rovers.
With Aberdeen’s season kicking off on Sunday, it’s also expected a bumper crowd will pack out Cove’s stadium for their big day.
However, striker Megginson, despite admitting it is an “exciting” time for Cove, says the players need to keep their focus.
He said: “You can’t let it play a part, or you can stop thinking and stop doing the things you normally do on the pitch. That can lead to mistakes.
“The squad is pretty focused on getting the three points and the gaffer’s had a bit of time to work with us in training this week and implement the way he wants to play and go about it.
“We’re all working hard towards that and I think it’s showed in the last few games with the results.
“It is working and it’s clicking. We need to bring that into the game on Saturday without letting the occasion mess that up or interfere in any way at all.”
New boss Paul Hartley used this year’s Betfred Cup group campaign, which culminated in the win over Raith, to bolster his squad and tweak their style of play.
Skipper Megginson, who only played against Inverness Caley in the competition because of a thigh strain and suspension – scoring twice – has been impressed on both counts.
He said: “The quality we’ve brought in with Declan Glass, Daniel Higgins and Canto (Chris Antoniazzi), the three have impressed when they’ve played.
“Young Nathan (Meres) was unfortunate to hurt his shoulder in the Dundee game, but they’ve settled really quickly. They’re not shy boys, which is good because they’re in the changing room chatting with the lads already.
“That’s what you want.
“Glass got a couple of assists against Inverness without me even knowing the boy, then a goal on Saturday. Canto got a goal as well.
“Daniel Higgins has been composed and solid.
“Hopefully they’ll keep going and progressing.”
On the tactical changes, he added: “We’re pretty much a high pressing team. We’re going to work harder for each other and not give the opposition a chance to play. The difference is last year the opponents were really going to get in our faces and not play around us, but teams in League Two can do that.
“So we want to press them high up, play a high tempo game and move the ball sharp.”
Megginson says Cove could not have picked a tougher introduction to the Scottish leagues than a game against Edinburgh, although the Balmoral Stadium’s big artificial surface will help the home team play their free-flowing, attacking game.
He said: “It’ll be a tough game, we’re probably going up against the favourites for the league, who were unlucky last season.
“The good thing is it’s at home, but they’ll be a good side, with good passing, physicality and will work hard. We’ll need to find our maximum and maybe raise it more.
“Our home pitch will be key this season to try to pick up points.”
Has Cove’s aim for the season progressed beyond survival just yet? Megginson thinks it would be “naive” to start believing it will be a cakewalk. He said: “Our aim is to survive the league. It’s our first season in League 2.
“It would be naïve of us to say we’re going to go in and challenge for the league, when we are going into the unknown.
“We’ve got an excellent squad, but I think first and foremost it is about surviving.
“If we can get anything more out of it, it’s a bonus.”