Mark Reynolds reckons Dundee United have a crop of kids ready to take on the Premiership.
The Tangerines squad will get together for pre-season training under new head coach Thomas Courts next week.
The new United boss is expected to build a side peppered with young talent.
And Reynolds believes the Tangerines have a group of youngsters who have already proved themselves ready for top flight football.
“The biggest benefit of last season was those last four league games were free hits,” said the United captain.
“We knew we were safe and as a club (could) look forward and give young players some valuable experience.
“Kerr Smith and Archie Meekison got to play back-to-back games in the Premiership for the first time and that will stand them in great stead for the physical and mental demands that brings.
“Everyone would agree the young players put in performances worthy of being involved if needed in a game.
“Kerr’s a 16-year-old centre half but plays as though he’s been playing the game for ten years at that level.
“You’ve got Archie and Kai Fotheringham, two guys who are different to what we’ve got and what we need in terms of being able to come on and win a game for you.
“They can produce a killer pass, they can beat a man and make things happen.
“They’ve put themselves in a much stronger position to be involved and become key members of the squad.”
Reynolds also hailed the appointment of Courts as head coach, revealing the United squad are fans of his work.
“The boys were delighted to hear Tam had got the job, he’s someone we know and we’ve worked with,” said Reynolds
“We had that unique situation with Covid last season when he took the team which was a good insight into him and we all got a good feeling towards him.
“He’s someone I’d previously thought he would be good to work under and see in that setting and now we’re going to get that chance.
“His football philosophy and the way he wants to go about things is something we can all get on board with.
“We’re all delighted he got the job and can now go prove himself and help better this club.
“Dundee United is a club trying to build something and wanted to recruit someone who was going to bring all the different factors we’ve got at the club together and have us all pulling in the same direction.
“We just hope we can go and get a good pre-season behind us to allow us to start positively on the front foot and build some early momentum which is massively important when someone new takes over.”
United consolidated their Premiership place under Micky Mellon last season and reached the semi-final of the Scottish Cup.
Mellon frequently referenced the fact the Tangerines were operating with players who had just made the step up from the Championship.
However, Reynolds believes there is no question about the United players’ top flight credentials.
“There’s no doubt the league is going to be stronger this year but I think we’re also in a much stronger position as a club and as a team,” said the skipper.
“The biggest thing last season was some people looked at us as a Championship squad with Championship players.
“We’ve now dispelled that and have proven that we’ve got Premiership players and we belong in the top flight – we just missed out on a top six spot by a point.
“With a bit of luck or another result, we’d have got there so we feel solid as a squad, we feel as though we’ve got a good group of players.
“We’ve now got an extra year behind us at the top level and now have 30/40 games under our belts in the Premiership.
“We’ve got a new head coach who has a direction he wants to take us, who will give us a new identity and style of play that, hopefully, the fans can enjoy and we can all do that little bit extra to get into the top six.”