BILLY REID believes a Hamilton Academical promotion push is all in the mind.
The New Douglas Park boss sends his players into friendly action against Town tomorrow (2.00) confident they have what it takes to make an immediate return to the Scottish Premier League.
But he urged: “We have to make sure we have that winning mentality.”
Reid’s side had just been promoted to the top flight last time they faced Town three years ago, winning 2-1 as part of the Hartlepool centenary tournament.
Now they are aiming to bounce back from a hugely disappointing campaign, and they looked in good nick as Gretna were beaten 4-0 on Tuesday.
Former Clyde manager Reid, whose side have a Ramsdens Cup clash against Queen’s Park at Hampden a week today before travelling to Ayr for their Irn-Bru First Division opener on Saturday, August 6, said: “Promotion has got to be the aim but I am sure it will be for the majority of the sides in the division.
“There will be teams who think they have got a chance of winning it and we shouldn’t be any different.
“We have got some smashing players here.
“But what we have got to do is make sure we have that winning mentality.
“We had that in the first five years that I was here but, last season, it didn’t happen for us for certain reasons.
“It is fine playing nice football at times, and we will continue to do that, but we have got to make sure that, to go along with that, we are winners as well.
“That has got to be the focus for me as manager and the players to pick that up quickly.”
Accies took the First Division by storm back in 2007-08, when players like James McCarthy and James McArthur, who are both now with Wigan, flourished in a team which took the title by seven points.
But after two impressive seasons in the SPL, they struggled last time around, finishing seven points adrift at the bottom.
“The last time we were in Division I it was terrific,” said Reid, 47, who had three seasons as a Hamilton player in the nineties.
“It would be nice to do that again, but football doesn’t work that way.
“Hopefully we can get a good start to the season and that will breed confidence.
“When you are getting beaten all the time, as happened a lot last season, confidence and belief can start to go.
“Your head has got to be right and, if I can get their heads right, then hopefully we can get the right results.”
It’s a West Yorkshire double for Lanarkshire this weekend.
Leeds are in friendly action at Hamilton’s neighbours Motherwell this afternoon.
Town’s League I rivals Preston are at Falkirk today while Livingston, who were originally due to host Lee Clark’s side, are at home to Hearts.
Town are back in action on Tuesday, when they take on SPL new boys Dunfermline at East End Park.
The Pars, who begin their league campaign at home to St Mirren a week on Monday, have just been on a pre-season trip to Austria.