Dundee finished last season feeling like they could beat anybody put in front of them.
After three League Cup victories the winning feeling is still going strong at Dens Park.
Today the Premiership begins and last season’s Player of the Year, Lee Ashcroft, has called on his team-mates to keep the ball rolling right into the league campaign.
The Dark Blues have won nine of their last 10 matches in all competitions, including two victories over then-Premiership side Kilmarnock.
That saw them take Killie’s place in the top division.
Now, it’s up to the Dark Blues to prove they can continue that winning habit against a strong St Mirren side at Dens this afternoon.
“When you are used to winning it comes naturally and by the end of the season I felt we could go out there and beat anyone,” Ashcroft said.
“So there was a lot of mental toughness involved, the experience of the squad was crucial.
“We ended last season in great form and that’s what we needed to get through the play-offs.
“Hopefully now we can take that into this season.
“If we can start with a positive result then it would be a good marker to put down.”
‘We picked ourselves up’
That mental toughness was shaped by a number of low points, particularly in the first half of the campaign.
How the players responded to those set-backs speaks volumes about the mentality within the Dundee squad these days.
Ashcroft, though, admits he had moments to himself where he wondered if the Dark Blues would ever get things together after a stop-start beginning to the season.
“Sometimes you do feel a bit like you’re miles away (from promotion), especially after that first game of the season against Hearts,” said Ashcroft.
“We went out and got thrashed, which was a real low point.
“But we picked ourselves up from that and kicked on.
“It was up and down so sometimes when you’re on your own you think ‘what’s happening here’ and get a bit down.
“But I don’t think we ever felt like that collectively and when the pressure games came the boys stood up to it.
“We had a lot of big games where we had to get results and we got them.
“We came good at the right time last year, it had been up and down but we got the momentum as the season went on.”
He added: “I don’t think there is too much between the Championship and this league, we played some teams in the cup last season and felt we held our own.
“But nobody thinks it isn’t going to be tough, it’s a really competitive and difficult league.
“We will need to be at it every week to fight for points and give a good account of ourselves.
“We feel we have a great squad but we’ve got to turn up and be consistent.
“You need consistency and to be picking up points in this league because a good run can take you right up there and a bad one you’re down there.”
Decision to join Dundee vindicated – no regrets in rejecting St Johnstone
Ashcroft spent the first four seasons of his career in the top flight with Kilmarnock before dropping down a division to join Dunfermline.
He didn’t expect to be battling it out in the Championship for the next five seasons before finally getting back to the big time.
To play in the Premiership is why he joined Dundee, though.
His choice of club has been vindicated by the Dark Blues’ promotion but the real hard work starts now.
“It has been a long time since I was in the Premiership,” he added.
“It doesn’t feel that length of time but when you look back on it you realise it was five years ago.
“It’s good to be back and that was my aim when I joined the club.
“It’s easy saying it now because we got promoted but I always thought this was the right move for me.
“I was lucky enough to have a few clubs interested and when I spoke to the manager I knew the aims of the club.
“I have loved it so far and hopefully we can push on and be a success in the Premiership.”
One of those options was St Johnstone, a side that went on to complete an incredible cup double last season.
“I am not someone who looks back and things ‘what if’, it’s easy to say things in hindsight,” he said.
“It was great for St Johnstone to go on and do that last season. It’s easy to say I could have been part of that, but I decided to come here and have loved it.
“I don’t regret my decision, winning promotion vindicated coming here.”