Darian MacKinnon was disappointed to hear Hamilton have not been branded relegation certainties again – because he likes proving the critics wrong.
St Mirren are favourites for the Ladbrokes Premiership drop after another summer of upheaval while newly-promoted Ross County are also tipped to struggle ahead of Accies.
Hamilton will kick off a sixth consecutive top-flight campaign away to County on Saturday having been written off numerous times over the years.
MacKinnon said: “We are probably not the favourites this year to go down which is disappointing – we like being the underdogs.
“It’s a good mentality to have because it’s everyone against us and that’s the way we like it to be.
“No disrespect, we don’t listen to the press saying we’re going down and it ruins our season.
“It’s just a good motivational thing at times saying nobody wants us here, let’s prove them wrong. But it’s not the be all and end all.”
MacKinnon is encouraged by Hamilton’s first pre-season under Brian Rice with their progress in the Betfred Cup underlining that.
“He wants to get the ball down, obviously in the right areas,” the midfielder said.
“He is very big on passing whereas before when things weren’t going well we went a wee bit longer. Nobody likes playing like that.
“We stayed in the league so we got the job done but for the kids coming through to get better they need to be able to handle the ball.
“It’s the first time we have got out of the Betfred Cup group stages so it’s a positive way to start the season. I don’t think I have had a good cup run since I’ve been at Hamilton so it’s a good start to build on.”