After injury resulted in him missing the end of last season, Ryan Strachan is relishing being back in action.
The Cove Rangers midfielder damaged ankle ligaments in April. That injury meant he missed the end of last term and had to sit out the Highland League champions’ play-off ties against Spartans and Cowdenbeath, as they tried to gain promotion to the SPFL.
Now, though, Strachan is back and has been building up his fitness in their pre-season friendlies.
He is delighted to be back and is ready to face Inverness Caley Thistle tomorrow in the League Cup group stage.
Strachan said: “I’m back to fitness, I’m back fully training and I’ve played in the three pre-season games.
“I’ve played 45 minutes, 60 minutes and 70 minutes so I’m getting towards 90.
“My fitness is still a bit behind everybody else’s because I’ve been out for so long.
“It’s getting there. I’m getting stronger and these games coming thick and fast is helping.
“The ankle was totally gone about two or three months ago so it’s done well to repair. Even though I’ve been playing friendlies, it’s been good to be back trying to get fit again.
“It’s good to be back playing with the boys and as soon as the real stuff starts tomorrow and then into the league campaign, hopefully I’m fully fit.”
Cove are going to be without captain Eric Watson, Mitch Megginson, Scott Ross and Alan Redford for the clash in the Highland capital.
But Strachan still believes they could shock John Robertson’s Caley.
He added: “Any time you play against a full-time team, being part-time, it’s difficult.
“They are used to their surroundings and, early on in the season, they are going to be a bit fitter than us. But we’ll set up how we have in our pre-season games and you never know.
“Hopefully we can catch them on an off day and get something from the game.
“Nobody will expect us to go and get anything up there.
“But in our dressing room we believe we’ve got the ability to do it and the manager believes.
“We definitely think we can cause them problems, but whether or not we get what we need is a different thing.
“We will need some luck to be on our side but we believe we can get a result.”
Within Cove’s squad they have a number of players, including Strachan, with SPFL experience and the former Peterhead man reckons that know-how could be important against Inverness.
He said: “It does help, having good experience in your team of playing at a higher level.
“But now we are all part-time so it’s difficult as a group.
“Individually, boys playing at a higher level in the past can help.”