Double title winner Declan Glass has admitted it has only begun to dawn on him that he is about to star on Scottish football’s biggest stage.
The 20-year-old Dundee United midfielder can’t wait to get back to pre-season training today with his top-flight teammates.
It has been a long and difficult lockdown for players – as it has for the rest of us – with Glass not immune to the mental and physical challenges posed by the coronavirus crisis.
Life won’t exactly go back to normal this morning when he returns to work, with social distancing restrictions in place on the park.
However, it is a start.
With his boots polished and ready, it is only now that Glass is allowing himself to look forward to big matches against the best the Premiership has to offer.
He said: “To be honest, it’s been quite mentally draining because of all the restrictions and uncertainty.
“It’s the same with the other lads – we have all just done our best to deal with it.
“As we have gotten close to coming back for pre-season training, I have felt myself getting a lift by the prospect of kicking a ball properly again.
“Of course, I have been working away on my own and doing everything I can to stay fit but it’s not the same as training with your teammates.
“That is why I am looking forward so much to getting back into training on Monday. It will still be strange because of all the restrictions but I’m excited.
“Only now have I started thinking about just how amazing it will be to be playing against teams like Celtic, Rangers and Aberdeen.
“Before we got word that we would be going back to train, it still felt like last season hadn’t quite finished in a way.
“Slowly but surely, it has begun to dawn on me that United are back where the club belongs.
“We definitely deserve to be back up and I am confident that we will do ourselves proud in the Premiership.
“Four years in the Championship was way too long for a club like ours and I know we will be a good addition to the top flight.”
Glass, of course, can claim to be a two-times champion because of the huge part he played in Cove Rangers’ sprint the League Two crown before heading back to Tannadice after the new year to do his bit for the Tangerines on their way to the Championship title.
Glass, who scored seven times for the Aberdeen side and was regularly named man-of the match, said: “It’s funny to think that I played for two teams that won titles.
“I’ll happily admit that I think I did more to help Cove achieve it than United!
“I suppose I should be quite pleased with that achievement – it won’t happen too often.
“I actually did have a Zoom party with the Cove lads as well as when United were promoted so there was a double celebration.
“That was good fun and I wish Cove well for the new season when it gets going for them.”
What a difference a year will make for Glass when the Premiership action gets under way, with his first league appearance for Cove being a 5-0 victory over Edinburgh City at the Balmoral Stadium last August 3.
The fixture list could throw up a curtain-raising cracker, even if it is to be played behind closed doors.
“It will feel weird to begin with because we will be playing matches without fans in the stadium but we should get used to that quite quickly.
“It doesn’t make it any less exciting for me.
“Our supporters will be back eventually and it has been great to see them buy season tickets and get behind the team that way.
“They were crucial for us last season, following the lads all around the country, and they will be as important if not more so this year.
“My aim is to be in the starting line-up for the first game and I will be doing everything possible to impress the gaffer.
“While we can all look forward to playing big games in the new season there is still some time to go before August.
“I just can’t wait to get into the dressing room, put my boots on and kick a ball for real again.”
Glass admitted that he is looking forward to seeing striker Lawrence Shankland start pre-season training with United, given predictions that he was a certainty to leave Tannadice over the summer.
That could still happen, of course, but Glass is optimistic that the club’s star man will be sticking around for a while yet.
He said: “I regard myself as lucky to have played with Shanks because he is a top striker.
“The performance of his that stands out for me was the one away to Partick not long after I had returned to United.
“We won 4-1 that day at Firhill and he was superb – not just because he scored a hat-trick.
“It is great that he is still at United and I look forward to seeing him on Monday.
“There has been speculation about him and people probably expected that to be the case.
“But Shanks himself has been saying how much he is looking forward to playing in the Premiership with United.
“You shouldn’t doubt him on that because he has made a career out of proving his doubters wrong.”
Support The Courier today.
The Courier is committed to delivering quality content to our communities and right now that’s more important than ever — which is why our key content is free. However, you can support us and access premium content by subscribing to The Courier from just £5.99 a month. Because Local Matters.Subscribe