Whether or not you regard the Betfred Cup as an extension of pre-season, the real thing is most definitely back tomorrow evening at EEP in front of the BBC cameras with Dunfermline hosting newly-relegated Dundee in the opening game of this season's SPFL Championship. Both clubs will be aiming for promotion, although the Pars camp have noticably avoided setting any targets in public, the type that can backfire should the team subsequently underperform.
The Pars' summer clearout has been a case of so far, so good, with the new-look team topping their Betfred Cup group and scoring 13 goals in the process. As stated often here and elsewhere, the youthful nucleus of the squad will inevitable lead to results fluctuating, meaning that patience - a commodity not too well-known amongst football fans in general - will be needed: the team have shown in the few games they have played together that when on their game, they can be formidable; but they are also capable of an off day, as evidenced in the defeat at Edinburgh City.
As fans, we can take heart from the enthusiasm in the squad, a stark contrast from the shameful group some of the players who wore the black and white last season, the bulk of them thankfully gone - wasters who pulled out of tackles and were not worthy of the jersey. The new signings have injected life, vitality and new belief into the club. We may struggle at times but we can look forward to seeing a squad that will never let us down in terms of effort. No scapegoats this season: let's all get behind what Stevie Crawford, Greg Shields and Jason Dair are trying to achieve. Enjoy the ride, even if there are bumps in the road.
The team for tomorrow's game will almost certainly be that which started against East Kilbride last weekend, except for Andy Ryan replacing the suspended Kyle Turner, unavailable due to bookings picked up last season when at Stranraer.
Expected starting 11:
Dundee replaced former Pars boss Jim McIntyre with veteran defender James McPake in the days before the final Premiership game of last season, with the club already relegated. McPake, who had announced his retirement from playing due to injury, was promoted from the coaching staff into his first management role.
The Dens Park club are second favourites to win the Championship this season, with average odds across all major bookies of 17/5 - compared to title favourites Dundee United, rated at an average of 7/4. Dunfermline are rated fifth favourites at 10-1.
After attending Dundee's Betfred Cup game at home to St Mirren on Sunday (you can watch Ben's vlog of the game here), I was impressed by their strength - particularly in central defence - but felt they lacked guile in attack. New signing Danny Johnson will be their main threat and scored the game's only goal.
Match report will be posted in the hours after the game tomorrow.
All photos on this page were taken by Pars Review.