Hamilton midfielder Darian MacKinnon relishing Ayr test
Darian MacKinnon admits a trip to face former club Ayr is an ideal test ahead of Hamilton's latest season in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
The midfielder hit three goals in eight games on loan at Somerset Park as he adjusted to full-time football shortly after moving to Accies in the summer of 2012.
The 30-year-old is thankful for an early return to competitive football in the Betfred Cup group stage.
"I'm quite looking forward to it," he said. "It's something new plus it stops all the meaningless pre-season friendly games.
"Pre-season friendlies can be false sometimes because the intensity is not there so it can actually make you look better than you are.
"We played Dunfermline on Tuesday and the intensity was there, which we never had over in Spain because of the heat.
"Ayr United will give us another good test. It's a really good workout for the league.
"I was on loan there for three months and scored a couple of goals for them so it will be good to go back down there.
"It's a lovely place and a really well-run club when I was there. The supporters really backed their team and it's a really good place to play football.
"Ian McCall is a terrific manager and they have done really well, plus we know from our Annan experience that these games aren't easy. But we will be well prepared."
Darren Lyon and Gramoz Kurtaj are unlikely to feature as they are still catching up on their team-mates for fitness following earlier injuries.
Ayr manager Ian McCall has ruled new signing Michael Rose out of his plans due to a hamstring injury.
Mickey Donald is a major injury doubt but McCall is attempting to add Burnley striker Jamie Thomas on loan before kick-off.
McCall is hoping his men can rise to the challenge and said: "I would expect Hamilton to be fitter and sharper than us as they are full time whereas we have just had training sessions over the past three weeks and only played a few games.
"We are low on numbers but we will go out and look to take the game to Hamilton."