Dundee midfielder Scott Allan admits he faces a “big year” as he attempts to get his career back on track at Dens.
The on-loan Celtic man impressed in a 3-1 friendly win for the Dark Blues against St Mirren on Tuesday night and it was the first time he had kicked a ball in anger for six months.
His last appearance was back in January as a late substitute for Rotherham United in a home loss to Barnsley during a miserable loan spell in England with the Millers that saw him start just five matches.
However, Allan arrived at Dundee as a proven talent and he looked in the mood as he laid on two goals for Darren O’Dea in the victory over the Buddies.
Indeed, he shone the brightest among the new signings and trialists on show.
Now he is determined to make the most of the chance he has been given by boss Neil McCann.
Allan said: “It was just good to get back out on the park because I had not played since the end of January.
“It even felt weird hitting a corner!
“Seriously, it was just nice to get a start and a win, even though it was just a friendly.
“I was delighted to be playing football again.
“That’s what it is all about for me and I am enjoying being involved in things at Dundee.
“I just want to be looking forward to my Saturdays again.
“The main reason for me coming here is that the manager has a winning mentality and won’t accept mediocre standards.
“I think that will get the best out of me and the other boys are all buying into that as well.
“It is going to be an interesting season for me and the team.
“This is a big year for me and I have put a lot of pressure on myself.
“However, I have turned things around before and I can do it again.”
Allan revealed that his experience at Rotherham has left him even hungrier to succeed with the Dark Blues.
Asked how he would sum up his time at the New York Stadium, he replied: “I learned a lot about myself – again.
“It gave me a lot of hunger for going into this season but that’s all behind me and I don’t really want to speak about it.
“Now it feels right for me at Dundee.
“The mentality the coaching staff are trying to put into the team suits me down to a tee.
“I just want to be a successful player again and let people see what I can do on the football pitch.
“I always knew the next decision for me would be an important one.
“I won’t let it pass me by.”
Meanwhile, Dundee boss McCann has urged his trialists to prove they are better than those already at the club.
The Dark Blues fielded a trio of trialists against St Mirren: central defender Crescendo van Berkel and midfield duo Glen Kamara and Nils Rutten.
All three did enough to earn another look by McCann and they are expected to be given more game time in Saturday’s friendly against Arbroath at Gayfield.
The Dens boss wants to see something in them that he doesn’t already have at the club.
Only then will he approach managing director John Nelms to ask for cash to fund deals.
McCann said: “It is not about numbers, it is about quality.
“If the right player becomes available I will go with the begging hat to John and hopefully he will throw some money into it.
“We have got quite a number there and there are obviously a few trialists within that group – boys I want to have a look at.
“They have to be better than what we’ve got – that’s clear.
“The pedigree of the players we are bringing in, without doubt on paper and because of where they have been previously, means they are of that stature.
“But they have to prove it to me.”