St Johnstone will go into the new season grounded by the usual priority of making sure they keep well away from the Premiership basement battle.
But manager Callum Davidson will balance that inherent and healthy caution with an ambition to make his double-winning team an even better one.
“You know me too well!” he joked, referencing the primary goal of staying up that was his mantra this time last season and of his predecessors Tommy Wright, Steve Lomas and Derek McInnes year after year before that.
“I need to keep them motivated and driving forward. It is my job to do that.
“If the standard slips then it is me who takes responsibility for it. I need to make sure they are fully focused and they want to go and achieve something great this season as well.
— St. Johnstone FC (@StJohnstone) July 24, 2021
“We played well last season. I wasn’t happy with some results so maybe that is where we will look to better it.
“Training has been really good this week.
“There is a sense of excitement among the boys to get into that first competitive game.
“I never really liked pre-season games myself. I just wanted to get through them, get fit and crack on with the league.
“I know the players and they know their roles. We know what we are doing.
“I just have to remind them of things to make sure we are doing well.
“My theory is that can we get better than what we did last season. I will be looking to improve on that.
“The lads know their jobs and they will be prepared.”
Focus on Dingwall not Istanbul
The prospect of facing such an iconic club in their Europa League third round qualifier is an alluring one and Davidson admitted that dismissing it from his players’ thoughts entirely ahead of their trip to more familiar surroundings this weekend is an impossibility.
But that won’t mean concentration on Ross County will be impacted.
“I don’t really look at games ahead,” he said. “I will be fully focused on Ross County until Saturday night then I will start to drift towards the next game.
“The players are the same. It is probably wrong of me to say it is not at the back of their minds but we have a really important game coming up.
“We will train Friday and travel up the road then prepare for the game as best as we can.
“We have a couple of wee niggles at the moment but you always get that around pre-season.
“We are touch and go with two or three of them so we will need to wait and see.”