Dundee new boy Ryan Sweeney says the “bounce” around Dens Park created by last season’s promotion heroics can propel them through the Premier Sports Cup group stage.
The central defender is aiming to make his debut in dark blue this week as the Dee kick off season 2021/22 in the League Cup.
First up is Highland League champions Brora Rangers on Tuesday night at Dens before a trip to face Premiership rivals Ross County on Sunday.
And the Dark Blues will be determined to keep the momentum going after their roaring finish to last season where they lost just one of the last 12 league matches en route to promotion.
Sweeney obviously wasn’t a part of that side having arrived ahead of the start of pre-season last month.
However, he says the feelgood factor around the club created by that success has made it an easy place to settle in.
“It has been really good,” he said.
“The lads have made me very welcome and you can see the confidence in the group after being promoted last season.
“You can sense it once you come in here, there is a bounce on the back of winning the play-offs and being promoted.
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“Being a new lad I’ve probably sensed it a little bit more, the lads have that natural bounce about them in training and we’ve seen that in games.
“It’s been an easy transition for me, it’s been brilliant.”
Having spent his entire playing career in England, Sweeney has never started a season earlier than August 3.
However, beginning a campaign a full three weeks before that is just another thing to get used to after moving to a new city and a new league.
Getting stuck into competitive action rather than enduring another three weeks of pre-season, though, suits Sweeney just fine.
He added: “It’s different up here obviously, playing cup games so early.
“In England the pre-season would last another few weeks. That’s a huge positive for me.
“The two weeks of pre-season has been tough to put the base in for the start of the season. Obviously the games are coming round really fast.
“But it’s good getting into the competitive stuff so quickly and we are raring to go.
“I’ve seen there is a lot of quality here.
“It’s all about being focused on the cup games and getting out of the group now.”
International ambitions ‘at the back of the mind’
Sweeney has spent the majority of his career in Leagues One and Two in England.
After impressing in his early years at Wimbledon AFC, the 24-year-old was spotted by the Republic of Ireland’s youth setup.
That saw him feature at U/19 and then U/21 level for the Irish after earning a move to Premier League Stoke City.
For the Republic’s youth sides, Sweeney played alongside Declan Rice before he switched allegiances to England and performed so well at Euro 2020.
His last international involvement came in March 2017 and the defender admits reviving his chances of a national call-up was at the back of his mind when choosing to move to Scotland.
“I have played for Ireland and that was brilliant,” Sweeney added.
“I really enjoyed it and would love to be involved again, so that is at the back of your mind when you make a move.
“The Scottish league is well covered and it has a brilliant following, so there is more publicity and scrutiny.
“So we will see what comes off the back of it.
“I am fully focused on doing well for Dundee then we’ll see what happens on the back of it.”