Ross County new boy Jay McEveley enjoying early return to competitive football
New Ross County signing Jay McEveley has declared himself a fan of the new Betfred Cup format after being quickly thrown into competitive action.
The former Scotland international made his debut in last weekend's 1-0 win at Montrose as the group stages of the Scottish League Cup resumed after an absence of more than 30 years.
And even though he and his new team-mates had something of a false start before Brian Graham's late penalty, the former Derby and Sheffield United player feels the early start to the season has allowed him to integrate well at his new club.
The 31-year-old said: "You can go through the motions in pre-season fixtures, when you're leading up, and then sometimes it can be a bit of an anti-climax the first game of the season. We're playing four competitive games where we've got to win the games to qualify from this group.
"And if we're going to be firing on all cylinders in these games that's only going to stand us in good stead for the first game of the season at home. I think the quicker you get into competitive football the better.
"It helps to work on things in game situations. Pre-season fixtures, you can change 11 people. It helps there is a structure in the team and people are going to know their jobs."
County host Raith Rovers on Saturday and McEveley believes they will improve on their Links Park showing.
"It probably took us 20 minutes of the game to realise that this was the start of the season, not a pre-season friendly," he said.
"They made it difficult for us. It was a new thing for me playing on the AstroTurf. It was very sticky, and we couldn't move the ball quickly enough for what we wanted to do. So we had to find a different way of playing, which we did do.
"It's our third game of the season, we're going to get fit, we're going to get stronger, we're going to get sharper.
"We were just glad we got the three points on the board. But we got the job done and I think everyone knows now that it's heads on and it's time for the season to start."
Raith have completed the signing of former Hearts striker Rudi Skacel and he is included in manager Gary Locke's squad for Dingwall.
Also heading north is former Aberdeen striker Declan McManus who has joined on loan from Fleetwood.
Locke said: "I am delighted to have both players available for this game as it will be a tough one. They are a real mix of youth and experience who will do well for us.
"We played really well in our win over Montrose in midweek for an hour before losing our way and we need to ensure that we play for the 90 minutes against Ross County."