Derek McInnes is glad this year to have swapped punditry for preparing Kilmarnock for their return to the cinch Premiership.
The former Aberdeen boss was working in television a year ago after departing Pittodrie in March, 2021.
McInnes took over at Rugby Park in January, going on to win the Championship and gain promotion to the top flight with the Ayrshire side and he was in fine fettle ahead of the visit of Dundee United in Saturday’s opener.
“This time last year I was doing a lot of television, just enjoying life and going to games, being spontaneous, with no real urge or energy to get back in at that time,” said McInnes, who revealed long-term injured Scott Robinson has had a setback in pre-season and will undergo a procedure in Edinburgh on Thursday to get some respite from his heel problem.
“I was enjoying the break.
“But as the months went by I was starting to get a bit of dugout envy and looking at games differently, and obviously we came back in here with a job to do and it has been pretty full-on since.
“So, looking forward to it. It is a tough game but a really good game for us.
“I know what the first game of the season brings, that feeling and it feels like a long time since we played that last game of the season against Raith Rovers so we are looking forward to this.
“Even though we have had Premier Sports Cup games this feels like the first game proper.
“Training was different class today. I felt there was an extra edge to training, it was at a high level, the boys were sharp, bright with their work so we are as ready as we are going to be.”
It promises to be a tough start to the league campaign for Killie, who follow the United game with a trip to Ibrox to play Rangers before a visit of champions Celtic.
“Good games, exciting games for us,” said McInnes.
“This time last year the club would have been looking at fixtures in the Championship and, with the greatest of respect, we would have done anything to get these types of fixtures.
“So, we have to look forward to it.”
Blair Alston, Liam Donnelly, Fraser Murray and Kyle Lafferty are all added to the Killie squad after recovering from various injuries.
Goalkeeper Zach Hemming, on loan from Middlesbrough, is still out with a groin injury and is back at his parent club this week, while Chris Stokes is improving following a hamstring problem and will hopefully join training next week.