Dundee new boy Jamie Ness can’t wait to get going tomorrow in dark blue – even if it’s far earlier than he’s ever been used to.
Having left Rangers during their financial meltdown in 2012, Ness is yet to sample the summer start in the modern format of the League Cup.
He’s likely to get his first taste of the Betfred Cup tomorrow, however, as his new side take on Raith Rovers at Stark’s Park looking to get their campaign off to the best possible start.
Having signed for then-Premier League side Stoke City from the Gers before playing for Scunthorpe and Plymouth in League One, Ness has been away from Scotland for seven years and is eager to get going north of the border once more.
He told the Tele: “As soon as pre-season is over the better!
“You just want to get into the real thing.
“Obviously, it’s important to get your fitness and play these games but you’d rather just be into the real stuff as quickly as possible.
“I’m looking forward to it and being back up the road and getting my teeth into it straight away.
“It’s been a bit of a micro- pre-season, it’s been very short and I only came in two weeks ago.
“It’s been good, though, and I feel up to speed before we start tomorrow.”
He added: “It was different when I was last up here, that was seven years ago so it’s a bit different now with the group stage.
“We had it similar down south with the Checkatrade Trophy which had a group phase before going into the latter rounds.
“We are looking forward to it and want to qualify for the next round. Dundee haven’t done that a couple of times in the last few years so it is something we are definitely aiming to do.
“On top of that, if we can get a few wins in a row it will give us some momentum going into the league season.”
Despite having other options, the 28-year-old was sold on a move to Dundee within moments of chatting to new Dens boss James McPake.
That the Dark Blues came calling, too, was a welcome chance for Ness and his family to head back up the road from the south-west of England.
“The plan was always to come back up to Scotland.
“When I first moved down it was just myself and my missus and it’s been seven years so now we have two kids, another one on the way, and two dogs so it’s been pretty full-on the last seven years!
“We’ve done all that by ourselves, the two of us, so to come back up and be near family was a major pull for us.
“When Dundee showed an interest and I spoke to the gaffer, he sold the club to me straight away.
“The way he wants to do things and the way he wants to play and the size of the club as well – it was a no-brainer to be honest.
“I still had options down south but we wanted to come back home so I’m really looking forward to getting going.”
>> Keep up to date with the latest news with the Evening Telegraph newsletter
Ness admits, though, that joining a club that had just been relegated from the top flight has its risks.
From what he’s seen at the club in his short time there, however, has dispelled any worries of a hangover into this coming season.
The central midfielder added: “I saw bits and pieces but the Scottish game isn’t very well covered down south, it doesn’t get the credit it deserves.
“You always worry coming into a relegated club about what the atmosphere is going to be like, what the lads will be like.
“There has been a big turnover in staff and players and it’s been nothing but positive since I’ve come in.
“It’s a group of young hungry lads who want to go and achieve things.”