William Edjenguele enjoyed possibly the best day of his life this summer when he got married — but the Dundee United French defender admits the rest of his time off was spent brooding over the agony of just missing out on promotion last term.
And that’s made him vow when the 2017/18 campaign ends, he’ll be celebrating a return to the Premiership.
Not surprisingly, that means today’s Championship opener at Inverness Caley Thistle can’t come quickly enough for the big centre-half.
“The feeling I felt at the end of last season at Hamilton, I do not want to go through that again. It was a long summer after that ,” he said.
“I hate going backwards, I do not like talking about the past, but it was so close. If we had lost by a much bigger margin, you would say we were not ready to go up but it was only one goal in a very tight game and that showed how close we were.”
There was a feeling an unfair schedule of six play-off games in just three weeks ultimately cost United that top-flight place — but Edjenguele isn’t for blaming anyone else.
“Yes there was the number of games we had to play but, if you know me even a little bit by now, you know I do not like to put up excuses.
“We can say we were tired but, if we had done better during the season, we could have won automatic promotion and not have had to play so many games. We were in that last game for a reason — our results.
“Now we learn from that it is about going into every game, do our best and get the results we need to make sure we can be first.”
It’s been a case of so far, so good, this season after United won their Betfred Cup group — but for him the real business starts in the Highlands.
“When you come back for pre-season you want to go through all the games, get through the cup games and do well like we’ve done — but this is the game you are targeting.
“The league this season is very important to us and I am looking forward to it.
“It’s a big game to start with and Inverness are going to be competitive, especially at home.
“We must be able to match their energy, that is going to be the big thing in this game. Then our quality can shine through.”
As much as these could be the two sides battling it out at the top of the second tier in the months to come, Edjenguele does stress getting up won’t be about what happens today but over the course of the season as a whole.
“It’s two big teams who are playing but, at the end of the day, it is one game of 36. It is the first one and you want to start well, with a positive result.
“You want to put everyone on notice that you are there, where you want to be. At the same time you cannot put too much pressure on yourself.”
And when he looks at the new-look squad at Tannadice, he sees one that has what it takes to finish top.
“This team has quality in abundance. I do like the look of the squad. For us at the back, literally what we have to do is give the attacking players the ball and let them do their thing.
“We just have to stay as tight at the back as we can and they will do the job for us. We have options and there is so much attacking quality we just have to given them the ball.
“You have Scott McDonald and Billy King who’ve played at a high level, James Keatings as well.
“Paul McMullan is a good player and then we already had Scott Fraser at the club, so there are good players for that end of the pitch.
“You saw against Dundee last Sunday, they do not need a lot to create problems for defences.”