St Johnstone captain Joe Shaughnessy admits the atmosphere around McDiarmid Park contrasts sharply with the last international break.
The Perth side currently occupy fifth position in the Premiership, just three points behind joint leaders Celtic and Hearts.
The impressive form of Tommy Wright’s men since a traumatic 6-0 loss to Celtic before the last lay-off has revived hopes of another top-six finish.
“We couldn’t have asked for much more with clean sheets and five wins since the Celtic game,” admitted central defender Shaughnessy (26), who is already relishing the prospect of a home clash with Kilmarnock a week tomorrow.
Saints are chasing a club record of six consecutive top-flight victories.
“It’s one of the few times we haven’t been looking forward to an international break,” added Shaughnessy.
“We have been playing so well, you want the games to keep coming.
“Kilmarnock will probably be feeling the same way. The two of us would be keen to play right away.
“It would be nice to go into the winter break with a few more good results under our belt.
“Hopefully we can pick up against Kilmarnock where we left off.
“Everyone was a bit down going into the last break after losing 6-0 but not this time.
“The top of the table is congested but it’s looking good.
“I think we had eight points before the recent run and we have opened up a gap from the teams nearer the bottom.
“It means we are up near the top rather than fighting it out down there. It’s a much healthier position.
“Now we have to push on. Hopefully it can be a more enjoyable season that last year.
“That was the first time I had been in the bottom six since coming here.
“Top six is much more enjoyable for everyone.”
Shaughnessy admits manager Wright’s summer signing policy has reaped rewards, with Matty Kennedy, Tony Watt, Danny Swanson and Drey Wright all making an impact.
“The lads that have come in over the summer have definitely brought energy and pace to the attack.
“We were probably missing a bit of that last season.
“Drey has really settled in and Matty, Danny and Tony are performing the way we expected.
“I didn’t know anything about Drey before he arrived. But he has been excellent and has fitted in really well.”
Goalkeeper Zander Clark’s record-breaking run of five shutouts had raised hopes of a Scotland call-up.
But his manager and teammates have been surprised he has been ignored by the Scotland management.
“Everyone has been talking about Zander and the record but it doesn’t affect him,” stressed Irishman Shaughnessy.
“Some recognition would be great but he won’t let it get to him after missing out.
“Everyone would love to play for their country, me included.
“I’m in the same boat as Zander.
“If a call-up came for me it would be fantastic.
“I played under-19 and under-21 for the Republic of Ireland so they will be aware I am still around.
“I would love it to happen one day.”