Midfielder Shaun Byrne says swapping the top-flight for the second tier was a tough call – but he plans to be back in the Premiership before long with new club Dundee.
The central midfielder built up a strong reputation during a successful three years at Livingston, winning League One and then promotion to the top division before staying up convincingly last season.
However, he’s swapped top-flight football at the Tony Macaroni Arena for another go at promotion from the Championship with Dundee.
And he has no doubt he’ll be back plying his trade at the top table for the Dark Blues before long.
He told the Tele: “Obviously you want to play at the highest level you can but if things go well here then it, hopefully, won’t be too long before we’re back in the Premiership.
“Going for the title has to be the aim, I think.
“A club the size of Dundee has to be pushing for the league.
“It’s, obviously, going to take hard work, it’s not an easy division, there are a lot of good teams and every point will be massive.
“You get punished a bit more in the Premiership for mistakes but in the Championship there are a lot of hard games, especially in the winter when the parks aren’t so good.
“You have to properly grind out the wins, no one gives you anything for free, so it’ll be a tough challenge but one I am looking forward to.”
Byrne revealed it was new manager James McPake who made the difference in deciding his future this summer with Premiership clubs interested in his services as well as Dundee.
“I was on holiday and the gaffer text me, he had permission from Livingston to speak to me, so I spoke to him on the phone and then met him when I came back,” he added.
“The way he went about it and showed how much he wanted me here and we got it done a few days later.
“It all happened pretty quickly.
“I could tell the gaffer really wanted me here.
“You want to be at a place where you’re wanted and it’s a massive club as well.
“Obviously, it was a disappointing season for the club last season but that’s in the past now and, hopefully, we can have a good season this year.”
His new manager has described Byrne as a “signal of intent” this summer as he engineers a rebuild at Dens Park over the close season in a bid to return to the Premiership at the first time of asking.
Byrne joined new boys Declan McDaid, Jordan McGhee, Josh Todd and Jordan Marshall for pre-season on Friday.
And he’ll jet out with his new team-mates for a training camp in Spain on Sunday.
First, though, they get back on the pitch for the first time under McPake as permanent boss this weekend as the Dark Blues travel for their first pre-season friendly of the summer at Brechin on Saturday.
Byrne added: “There are quite a few new faces, I know a few of them by playing against them.
“The trip to Spain we’ll get closer as a squad so that’s always good.
“Pre-season has been good so far, the players are all good quality and we’ve had the balls out already as well as a bit of running so there’s been a good mix of hard work and playing games.
“You always want to get the running over and done with and into the games so I’m looking forward to getting back on the pitch.
“The matches will be coming thick and fast soon so it’s important to be ready for the season ahead.”