Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has urged his players to forget about their upcoming Scottish Cup replay with Kilmarnock and put their full focus on getting their league campaign back on track.
The Dons returned from the winter break three points clear of Rangers in the race for a top-two finish in the Scottish Premiership.
But McInnes’ side, beaten 2-0 by leaders Celtic and Hibernian on their previous league outings, now trail their Ibrox rivals by six points but with a game in hand.
The Dons travel to struggling Partick Thistle this weekend while Rangers will be looking for a victory against Celtic in this Sunday’s Glasgow derby to propel them into title contention.
McInnes’ side head to Firhill seeking to end their three-game winless sequence ahead of Tuesday’s Scottish Cup replay against Killie at Rugby Park.
The Aberdeen manager said: “Saturday’s match against Kilmarnock was frustrating. There is always a disappointment when you don’t win a game.
“We are also realistic. We are still in the cup and we’ve got so much still to play for.
“We will look forward to the cup tie when it comes round again.
“Although we allowed Kilmarnock to get back into the tie on Saturday, it is still a fantastic opportunity.
“But the focus now is on Partick Thistle and getting back to league business.
“We want three points at this important stage of the season.”
The Dons have 10 league games remaining and McInnes believes the competitive nature of the Scottish Premiership means every game between now and the end of the season will present a stern challenge for players.
He added: “There is something in the league for everybody at the moment.
“There is a middle group of teams – Kilmarnock, Motherwell and Hearts – fighting to get in the top six.
“There is a fight for the European spots at the top and everybody in the bottom six is still looking over their shoulder.
“It makes every game really meaningful.
“This Saturday, the three points will be as important to Partick as they are for ourselves for different reasons.
“It definitely makes it a more competitive league and it makes winning games that bit more difficult.
“For us to remain competitive and meet our aspirations it is important that we pick up all three points.
“I understand Thistle will see those three points as very important in their situation.
“It makes it a tough game for both teams and an exciting game for both sets of supporters.”