But he is confident Partick Thistle can be in the mix for championship contention as they chase a place in the Scottish Premier League.
Jackie McNamara's side finished sixth in the standings last time out but with Hugh Murray, Sean Welsh, Steven Lawless and Aaron Muirhead making the move to Firhill already this summer, the Jags are gearing themselves up for a shot at silverware.
Ross County took the league by storm last time out but Paton reckons the race to the finish will be a far closer affair in the coming months.
He said: "At the end of the season you always look forward to having a rest but then after a few weeks you just want to get back in and get going again. I am looking forward to the start of the season.
"There were a lot of games last year where we could have picked up more points but I think there has got to be a realisation that Ross County were by far the best team.
"The amount of points they accumulated was incredible and even if we had picked up the points we felt we could have, we wouldn't have caught them.
"We have got to step up to the mark this year and look to be that good. Last summer you would have thought it would be quite even and then Ross County ended up running away with it.
"It is there for anyone this year. Dundee have added a few decent players so they could be the ones to beat but we are looking at ourselves as contenders as well."
While a sixth-place finish was a low-key end to McNamara's maiden season in the dugout, the signs were encouraging for the Firhill faithful as they look ahead to a possible title tilt this time around.
The Jags boss has retained most of his star men and Paton is sure the only way is up for McNamara's men.
He said: "The gaffer had a good first year and we want to improve.
"We certainly want to finish higher than sixth place, if we didn't then that's unacceptable.
"It was the gaffer's first year in the job last season and I am sure he will have learned a lot about that side of the game and us as a group of players. We are always learning as well.
"There can be no excuses this year about players being young and only having played a handful of games.
"Almost everyone in the squad has at least a year in the First Division under their belt now so we have got to be ready to go."