LEWIS MAYO has spent "the longest pre-season ever" learning the tricks of the trade from a former England international at Rangers.

But the 20-year-old centre back believes that he can take his defensive schooling to a new level with Dunfermline and has set his sights on helping his team achieve top marks in the upcoming Championship season.

Mayo, whose involvement with Scotland's under-21 squad for their UEFA European Championship qualifiers with the Czech Republic and San Marino is likely to see him miss out on Athletic's opening Betfred Cup fixtures, agreed a season-long loan move from Ibrox on Friday.

In August, he signed a two-year contract extension to keep him with Steven Gerrard's team until 2023, and last season enjoyed a brief stint with Partick Thistle before the season was cut short.

Although he has yet to make a senior appearance for Rangers, Mayo has spent pre-season training in and around their first-team squad but says competitive football at East End is the ideal next step in his fledgling career.

"I'm delighted to get it over the line," he told Press Sport.

"I've been back training with Rangers since June – it's felt like the longest pre-season ever – but now I'm actually excited to get the season started and get going.

"It's been a bit unusual, given how long its been, but that's the nature of the world right now. It's given me time to go and play and train against all the Rangers first-team players which ultimately is going to help me a lot as a player.

"For me, there's so much you can learn off them. They're top pros and will try and help the younger ones and give you guidance.

"Filip Helander, as a centre back, has been really good with me, so has Connor Goldson, just playing alongside you, talking to you, giving you pointers, asking you what you're doing and how you're doing it, and how to think through the game.

"I'd say Jermain Defoe as well has been another good one as well playing against him. He'll give you pointers on things you're doing well and his movement is top class. Trying to mark him is a big learning curve.

"He's a clever player as well; he'll wait until he's just out your eye line and he'll move. For me, it's about staying focused, keeping an eye on him, and putting my body in the right position to deal with that.

"Dunfermline I think right now is the right place for me to go and get the next stage of my development but I will be returning to Rangers at one point and hoping to kick-on."

Mayo continued: "I got a taste of it last season and that was part of the decision this year; I wanted to go and have a go at it. Even the process of competing for a place in the team, competing for a start, drives standards up but also drives your own standards up. If you want to compete for your own spot you need to be at your best every day.

"I think that sort of challenge will teach you to become a better player.

"There was a little bit of interest from other teams but I had a chat with the manager before I signed. I felt that the ambition of the club, and the direction that they're wanting to go in, was something I wanted to be part of.

"I know that there's an expectation around the club and an ambition to go and be competitive this season, and hopefully push for promotion. That appealed to me and I wanted to be part of that.

"I'm here because I think it's the right step for my development but I think as well going and being ambitious and competitive is another way to learn.

"It's not just about getting on the pitch and playing but actually going on with a purpose to go and win.

"I've been training with the squad for a week now and you can see there's a lot of quality in there, it's a good group that's been put in place.

"We're hoping to get off to a good start and get some momentum going."