Hamish Ritchie wants to help Peterhead compete at the top end of League One after joining the club on a permanent basis.
The midfielder has joined the Blue Toon on a two-year contract from Inverurie Locos.
Ritchie spent the second half of this season on loan at Balmoor from the Highland League side and netted four goals in 11 appearances.
Manager Jim McInally was impressed by Ritchie as Peterhead finished the campaign in seventh place.
And looking ahead to next season, the 24-year-old believes the Blue Toon should be aiming high.
He said: “I really enjoyed my loan spell and I don’t really think it could have gone much better for me, especially considering the period I’d been out for.
“I enjoyed it a lot, so that helped me and was one of the reasons I wanted to stay.
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“I think there is definitely more progress that we can make and I think you could see that from our performances in the second half of the season.
“We did well and I felt we were the better team in most of the games we played, so we’ve got to take confidence from that and kick on for next season.
“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be pushing at the top end of the table.”
Ritchie’s hope for a full campaign
After performing well on loan, Ritchie is eager to prove himself over a full season at Peterhead.
He returned to the north-east last summer after four years at university in America, where the football seasons were shorter than in Scotland.
Having come home, he was limited to a handful of appearances for Inverurie as the pandemic resulted in the 2020-21 Highland League season being cut short.
Ritchie added: “The biggest thing for me is getting a full season really, because I haven’t had since I played in the Highland League before I went to America.
“Over there they don’t really play the full year round, you have your season and then an off season.
“So I’m looking forward to hopefully getting a full year at it with Peterhead.”
Inverurie were ‘brilliant’
Ritchie also thanked Locos for how they have helped him.
They allowed him to join Cove Rangers on loan in November before letting him go to Peterhead on loan in March and now sanctioning this permanent transfer.
He said: “Inverurie have been great with me ever since I signed.
“They let me go to Cove back in November and then they let me go to Peterhead on loan in March and now they’ve allowed this deal to happen.
“They didn’t have to let any of that happen, so I appreciate what they’ve done because they’ve been brilliant with me.”
Thoughts of moving up on the backburner
Peterhead manager McInally was thrilled to be able to land Ritchie and he believes he could go on to play at a higher level than League One.
However, that’s not something Ritchie is thinking about right now with his main focus on doing well for the Blue Toon next term.
He said: “If you do well then you will get noticed and there might be chances to step up.
“But if you’re doing well it hopefully means the team is doing well, which is the most important thing and my main focus.”