Filip Kiss made his return to Scotland yesterday and in determined mood too, having prospered during a six-month loan spell with Ross County during the latter half of last season. The Cardiff City player will spend the entirety of the new campaign with the Highland side and is eager to pick up where he left off.
His last move to Scotland proved mutually beneficial. The 23-year-old was out of favour at Cardiff and so found prominence and regular action with County, a club which profited from his notable talent. Kiss scored six goals in 17 matches for the SPFL Premiership side.
He also earned international recognition; the midfielder making his senior debut for Slovakia as a late substitute in a 3-1 win in Israel on March 5. He then earned his second cap in May when he played the full 90 minutes in a 1-0 defeat by Russia.
Kiss was not expected to return to the Highlands, then. Indeed he was a person of interest for clubs in the Sky Bet Championship, even though he was only a fringe player at Cardiff. Yet the 23-year-old continued to look kindly on the prospect of returning to a club for which he was valued highly last season.
"Returning to the Ross County was always a possibility," said Kiss. "I felt very welcome from the start and we had quite a good season. I went on Cardiff City's pre-season tour of Austria, played a couple of games and felt really well - so I'm well-prepared for the start of the season.
"I had a few chats with the Cardiff manager [Ole Gunnar Solskjaer] and I appreciated his honesty. He was pleased with me but told me straight I would be a back-up player.
"He wanted me to stay but I said I didn't want to be back-up, I wanted to be a main player and that's when I decided to go on loan again. To be honest, I had other options - much more than I'd had last January - but I felt Ross County had given me the helping hand last season and I had to give them something back as well.
"I feel I can develop playing in the top league in Scotland. It can only be good for me."
His words revealed an ambition to add to his international caps with Slovakia. "In the second half of last season, I broke into the full international team and won my first cap which I was very pleased about," said the midfielder, who has two years left to run on his contract at Cardiff.
"Every schoolboy dreams of playing for his country and my dream came true. But it has also pushed me in the knowledge I need to work so very hard to prove I can succeed at that level and earn more caps.
"The manager here gave me a chance to play football in a top division. I was grateful for that, but still I need to prove myself every week.
"I believe the club can help me develop through a whole season now. I want to show consistency right through the campaign, play good football and then see what comes next. I have a target at Ross County to get to a better position than we got to last season."
The Slovak is one of 11 new signings made by County this summer, a number which includes erstwhile Parma full-back Uros Celcer and midfielder Rosario Latouchent, who has joined from Caen. Derek Adams, the County manager, also expects to complete a deal to bring winger Graham Carey back to the club, just months after he left.
"Parma signed [Celcer] a year ago and then he was loaned back to his club. He's technically very good," said Adams. "Rosario can play as a wide player as well.
"He can play at left-back, where he did that in France last season but he can play in the wide area of midfield as well. He's one who has got really good potential for us."