Less than a minute into Tranmere's first pre-season match a familiar sound returns to the ever-present wind tunnel of Prenton Park's main stand.

It's not the roar of a crowd, that was so badly missed during the 2020/21 season, but that of a Glaswegian scream, piercing the atmosphere as instructions are barked onto the playing field.

Micky Mellon is back and it's like he's never been away.

That his new-look team not only gave a good account of themselves against Scottish Champions Rangers, but actually pulled off an unexpected win, only adds to the feel-good vibe that is engulfing the club, in stark contrast to the ugly division of the last campaign.

"We did very well. I'll be honest, I was worried before the game when I saw the type of fixture that we'd taken on," Mellon said.

"We only have 12 (first team) players. We need more players. But the shift that they put in - we did a wee bit of tactical work on it. We knew how Rangers would play and the players stuck to it. They put in a real shift and it was pleasing to see. It's something for us to build on," he added.

It is immediately clear that Mellon is delighted to be back, comfortable in his surroundings and hungry for success.

And the Scot made that clear in his strong desire to continue to add to his squad with real purpose.

He said: "We need to get better at getting things over the line. I think we need to be more aggressive at getting players in.

"But we'll do that. I have a great relationship with the chairman and he knows. I've told him that we need to get more players in. We're still short of bodies.

"If we're going to do what we want to do, which is be a real force in this league at the right end of it, you need to bring those bodies in.

"The sooner we can get them in, the better quality we can get in. They deserved support, the boys. To ask twelve of them to do what they've done today (play Rangers), I wasn't quite happy with it, but we've come out of it unscathed. I wouldn't want to be doing that too often."

Mellon's clear frustration at not yet having the complete squad that he needs to make a serious assault on promotion has in part been bolstered by players leaving the club that conceivably could have stayed.

Tranmere's automatic promotion push unravelled towards the back end of last season when sub-par performances led to clear divisions within the squad, creating an unharmonious atmosphere and some have chosen to cut their losses.

Mellon said: "There was players who were offered contracts and they decided to go elsewhere. I don't think it's fair to name them now, but there were players before I came back who were offered deals and to come in to speak to the club.

"I try to be as transparent as possible. Rest assured that the ones that probably everybody believed that we would like to keep, we offered deals to. But some decided to go elsewhere and that's up to them.

"But we're confident that we can keep moving it forward and keep bringing goods players in and get them on this unbelievable pitch and be a force."

With two promotions at Prenton Park already under his belt, there is no questioning the high esteem in which Mellon is held by the club, but his return, after only one year back in his native Scotland, comes with genuine purpose.

This time, the Scot has bought a house on the Wirral and is in the process of moving his family here to put down roots. The family currently lives in St Andrews, north of the border, but plan to resettle here permanently in about four weeks time.

He said: "We'll move to the Wirral very soon. I'm fully committed to wanting to keep moving Tranmere forward. I love being in and among the fans.

"I've got to say, the amount of people I've seen when I'm doing my walking along the promenade who have said that they're pleased that I'm back - the unity that I have with them has been great for the soul.

"Not for one moment have I believed that it wasn't the right thing to do to come back to this fantastic football club and I want to keep building it. It feels so special to me and hopefully with some more new players and the chairman we can deliver that for you."

Thanks to his previous achievements, Mellon returns massively in credit with supporters, but it cannot be ignored that he left the club 12 months ago to pursue other ambitions, managing Dundee United in the Scottish Premiership.

But when quizzed on what prompted this complete reversal of his management journey his thinking is clear.

Mellon said: "I had to try Scotland. It's something that I'd always wanted to do. I would never have run out on Tranmere and left the club in a way that I didn't believe that it could keep moving on from.

"I'd never played or managed in Scotland and I wanted to try and get up there among my family and let them see me perform a little bit. That's surely what everybody wants to do.

"The pandemic never allowed that, but the decision to go there I don't regret at all. I'm pleased that I went up there and saw that. But also, the decision to come back - I know that sometimes people seem mutual consent and they think "Oh this happened.." - it was very much mutual consent (leaving Dundee United).

"It was a conversation at the end of the season in that I believed the right thing for me to do was to try and get back to England at that time.

"As soon as I spoke to the chairman, it felt right to come back to Tranmere. But I wouldn't come back if I didn't believe that I could still do things here.

"I wouldn't do that. I wouldn't let the fans down like that.

"But I'm delighted to be back. It's a fantastic football club. You only have to look around. It's a place that graced Rangers. They came and they were impressed.

"So that's the type of football club that we've got and we've got to keep moving it forward now. I've got the energy and the appetite to do that.

"I just feel connected to the whole thing. I feel like I've been alone. It's terrific to be back. I feel so at home with everything.

"I became a better manager (in Scotland). I want to bring that now to Tranmere."