Dundee have rid themselves of relegation rot and are ready to challenge for the Championship title.
That is the view of central defender Jordon Forster, one of the summer arrivals who have helped revitalise the Dark Blues’ squad after the trauma of last season.
Forster experienced the drop at Hibs in 2014 so knows the impact it can have on a team but he is confident the Dens men have transformed themselves under new gaffer James McPake over the summer and are ready to go straight back up to the Premiership.
That quest begins at East End Park in the curtain-raiser against Dunfermline tonight.
Forster said: “I got relegated with Hibs so have experienced it.
“I wasn’t at Dundee last season, obviously, but from chatting to the players who were it was a horrible feeling.
“Getting relegated is not nice.
“Dwelling on what happened last season is not going to be good for the club going forward.
“I think since the manager came in he has brought in his own players and there is a new feeling here.
“It is almost like, without forgetting about last season because it happened and has to be there at the back of peoples’ heads, we have parked the past.
“Everyone at the club has been talking about how we can get promoted and it is a new start.”
Forster (25), who has shaved off his trademark beard in time for the big clash against the Pars, admitted that while there have been Betfred Cup games – the Dark Blues topped their group and face Aberdeen in the last 16 – this is the big one.
He added: “You go away over the summer, come back and work hard in pre-season and then have the cup games.
“Everything, though, is geared towards the opening day of the league season.
“The boys are all looking forward to it as it is a bit of an occasion.
“I think every game is going to bring a different challenge this season.
“There will be games where we have a lot of the ball and other matches where you get teams playing in a different style to try to break us down.
“There will be a test every time.
“I would concede that going away on opening day is never going to be easy.
“We are looking to pick up a positive result and we have one eye on keeping what would be our sixth clean sheet in a row (including the friendly against Blackpool).”
Forster admitted that the Dundee players have noted what has been going on at the clubs expected to be their promotions rivals.
He appears determined not to just see the season ahead as a straight shootout between his team and city rivals Dundee United.
He said: “We are human beings so what goes on in the dressing room is that you have a chat about which teams are looking good and which teams have brought players in.
“We do talk about that kind of stuff but, when it comes down to it, it is 11 versus 11 on the pitch and we believe we have a very good squad that is more than capable of winning the league.
“I think Dundee United have brought in some decent players, as have we.
“I think they have more bodies in the door.
“We want to win the league and that probably means we will have to finish above United.
“However, if we are third and they are fourth then it will be a disappointing season for us so it’s not all about that.
“It is the same at any club. There is always a rivalry there but, to be honest, it is about us looking to win the league and get promotion.
“We have four games against United and it would be nice to beat them but our main objective is what is right for Dundee FC.
“You look at Celtic, Rangers, Hearts, Hibs, us and United. I’m sure when the fixtures come out the players at those respective clubs will look for derby day.
“There is no getting away from that as these are massive occasions and you have friends and family, and they are usually live on TV.
“These fixtures are what players want to play in and they are matches that usually have a lot at stake.
“I can’t speak on behalf of the other boys but for me, personally, I look forward to them but there is more to it than derbies.
“Overall, it has been a successful pre-season for us and we are ready to go in the league now.”