When looking back over the past 12 months, Trevor Carson described it as a “fairy tale”.
The goalkeeper enjoyed an outstanding debut season with Motherwell, picked up multiple player of the year awards and collected his long-awaited international caps for Northern Ireland.
And now the Fir Park stopper is desperate for the dream to continue, just 12 months after signing for the Steelmen.
“It was a fairy tale season for me personally last year,” the 30-year-old admitted. “Coming here and doing well was a great start, then making my international debut was something I’ve dreamed about for a long time.
“But now it’s time to turn our attentions to the season ahead, and we’re all excited to try and build on everything we did last year, which means an important final game in the Betfred Cup group stage on Saturday.”
Stephen Robinson’s side face Clyde in the final fixture of Group G, with top spot up for grabs.
“We have the main aim of going out there and finishing top of our group, but in the back of our minds we can’t get away from the Hibs game on the opening day of the league campaign, so we need to be sure to be fully ready for Saturday.
“A trip to Easter Road is a great way to start the season, at a good stadium against a good side, and it’ll be a big challenge for us. But coming off the back of the Scottish Cup final last season, the boys are hungry to get over the disappointments and get the feel-good factor back around the club.”
The disappointments of the 1-1 draw with Stranraer were put to bed with a convincing 2-0 victory over Championship aside Queen of the South.
And following the highs and lows of the 2017/18 campaign, the squad are eager to make big strides this term.
“I don’t necessarily think that we’re a side who sit down at the start of a campaign and pick our objectives. We take games one at a time and I think that’s what brought us the success we had last season.
“We’re in a good, competitive league, but we’ve got nothing to fear and deep down I know we’ll have a part of us aiming as high as possible this season. We know the cups can be huge for the supporters and for the momentum it brings the club as a whole, but the league is something we’ll obviously be particularly focussed on.”
The Northern Irishman was subject to a lot of transfer speculation after such impressive performances for the club last season, but it didn’t distract the stopper from his goals.
And two goals in particular lie away from the football pitch.
“I always want to make my family proud,” the father of two said. “I’ve obviously got a daughter and just recently had a son, and that just adds to that special bond you have with your children.
“It makes things like football seem so insignificant at times, and that’s why I make all the sacrifices I do, to try and give them the best life possible.”
But sometimes parenthood isn’t all that plain sailing, Trevor joked: “When Rex was born he made us wait. He was eleven days late and those eleven days felt like eleven months at times! But it was well worth it.”
Amid the hectic season enjoyed by the ‘Well stopper in the last year, both on and off the pitch, Trevor allowed himself some pause for thought in the small break he had.
“The break allowed me to sit down and reflect on what I’d achieved last season,” he revealed. “I don’t allow myself to do that during the season or after particular matches, so it was nice for me to sit down, have a beer, and look back on it all fondly.
“But to be honest, it’s only made me hungrier. There might have been points last season when I thought I was working as hard as I possibly could, but this pre-season I’ve been sure to give that bit extra and it’s made me hungrier and made me realise what I can achieve, and want to achieve in football.
“And now that I’m back for the season ahead, it’s made me determined to push on and have a successful season here at Motherwell.”