STUART BANNIGAN is confident Partick Thistle can fly out the traps and take their superb pre-season form into this season.
Jackie McNamara's side beat Irn-Bru Second Division sides Alloa and Ayr United on the road before claiming the ARR Craib Cup with impressive wins over a Celtic XI and Everton XI at Firhill last weekend.
Next on the agenda for the Jags is their Ramsdens Cup opener with Clyde on Saturday before a trip to Forfar kicks off their League Cup campaign seven days later.
Falkirk are the first visitors to Firhill on First Division duty in a fortnight's time and the Jags midfielder knows Thistle can't afford a sluggish start.
He said: "We have got a derby with Clyde and then a tricky one up at Forfar to start the season off so hopefully we can get a couple of wins and get off and running.
"The games at the weekend were great and now we're looking forward to the competitive games getting under way.
"We didn't have a good start last year in the cups and then we lost the first league game against Dundee in the last minute at Firhill.
"We need to get off to a good start. With Shug (Hugh Murray), Archie (Alan Archibald) and Rowser (David Rowson) in the team, we have that bit of experience to help the younger boys along."
Bannigan has been one of the standout performers for the Jags during the summer fixtures so far, with the youngster starring in midfield and left wing-back roles.
After a couple of seasons on the fringes of the Thistle first team, the Firhill protege appears ready to make his mark on McNamara's squad this season but has a fight on his hands to secure regular football in the First Division.
Aaron Sinclair is thought to be first choice on the left side of defence while McNamara has a host of other quality midfield options.
That won't stop Bannigan from trying, however, with the 19-year-old eager to become a permanent fixture in the Firhill club's starting XI.
He said: "I have been building myself up and managed to get a few games. Hopefully now I can stay in the team and keep impressing the manager.
"Pre-season is just about trying to get yourself sharp and fit, I want to make sure I am in the team when the season starts.
"I have to be versatile and try and adapt so that I can play in different positions. Aaron has been great for us at left-back and we have a lot of quality players in midfield.
"It doesn't bother me where I am playing, I am happy to be helping the team. I have enjoyed playing on the left so far.
"I got a few games there last year and enjoyed it but the manager knows I am happy to play wherever he needs me."
The youngster, who has never looked back following a loan spell at Ayr United in 2011, added: "We are looking strong as a team. We have got a good squad and a lot of competition for places right across the team. We are just trying to get ready for the new season.
"We have got good strength in depth and you know that if you are in the team that you will have to play well to stay there.
"I think this is the strongest squad we have had for a while. We are determined to have a good season this year."