Motherwell captain Declan Gallagher aims to use their opening-weekend trip to Dingwall to further integrate his new team-mates following the challenges posed by coronavirus restrictions.
In his new role as skipper following the departure of Peter Hartley, Gallagher has aimed to take the lead in fostering team spirit in unusual circumstances.
But a four-hour bus trip and a stay in the Highlands ahead of Monday’s Scottish Premiership opener against Ross County will give summer arrivals Callum Lang, Nathan McGinley, Scott Fox, Ricki Lamie and Jordan White heightened exposure to the dynamics of Stephen Robinson’s squad.
“There’s been a big difference in the sense that the boys weren’t all together from the start,” Gallagher said.
“We had to train in separate pods to start with and even in the changing rooms things aren’t the same because of social distancing.
“There’s three different changing rooms throughout the stadium, so we are social distancing in there.
“For some of the new boys coming in, it’s maybe been a bit harder to start speaking to everyone right at the start, but slowly and surely we are getting there.
“You want to make sure they are all happy. I used to send them a text the day before they came in just saying if they needed anything or they wanted to speak about anything that I was here for them.
“It’s a good group of boys we have got here, and a lot of young boys, so everyone is quite quiet to start off with. With me being a vocal person and more experienced player, I have just been trying to get everyone together and get that team bonding the same as we had last year.
“A lot of the boys last year are still here and the new faces have come in and been flying. We are just looking to get up to Ross County and maybe have a wee bit more bonding and a few songs from the new signings. It will be good to get in amongst it.”
Gallagher is relishing his first match as club captain.
“It’s a dream for me to captain a club like this,” the 29-year-old said. “I am just buzzing and can’t wait to get the armband on.”