Aberdeen attacker Jay Emmanuel-Thomas aims to chase down the teams occupying the Europa Conference League qualifying slots.
The Reds have jumped back into the Premiership top six following back-to-back wins.
Summer signing Emmanuel-Thomas, aka JET, warned Aberdeen are now gunning for the early Premiership pace-setters.
Third and fourth spot finishes guarantee European Conference League qualification.
Third-placed Hearts are nine points ahead of Aberdeen.
Dundee United, occupying fourth spot, hold a four-point advantage on the Dons.
On being back in the top six, JET said: “It’s great and when you look at the table it gives you that motivation to keep pushing.
“We need to keep striving to get into that top four or three and keep going from there.”
Determined to grab his opportunity
Aberdeen reached the play-off stages of the UEFA Europa Conference League this season where they lost out 4-1 on aggregate to Qarabag.
The Dons have qualified for Europe for eight straight seasons.
Almost three months after his last start, Emmanuel-Thomas came in from the cold in the recent 2-0 defeat of Livingston at Pittodrie.
It was the 30-year-old’s first start since a 1-0 loss to St Johnstone on September 18.
The former Arsenal and Livingston attacker retained slot in the starting XI for the 4-1 defeat of St Mirren.
Emmanuel-Thomas, who has scored just once this season, aims to grab his opportunity to shine.
He said: “The last couple of games I’ve got my opportunity and I’ll try my best to take it.
“It is timing and everything has to work out and go to plan.
“The gaffer has things he wants to try and work on.”
Always confident tide would turn
Emmanuel-Thomas was secured on a two-year contract as part of a squad rebuild in the summer by boss Stephen Glass.
After a positive start to the season, the Reds suffered a slump with only two wins in 15 matches in all competitions.
During that run the Dons dropped to eighth in the Premiership table.
Emmanuel-Thomas insists he never lost faith the Reds would rediscover winning form.
He said: “I was always confident as we create a lot of chances.
“We don’t always take them, but on Saturday we played some free-flowing football in the final third.
“The back was really solid and Joe (Lewis, keeper) made some great saves, which we needed in certain situations.
“We might not have had the best time in recent weeks, but we will pick up and start to push on for sure.”
Aberdeen ‘starting to find fluency’
December is traditionally a pivotal period in the Premiership calendar as so many fixtures are packed into the month.
It can potentially make or break a campaign. Aberdeen have began December with a bang by defeating St Mirren and Livingston.
Emmanuel-Thomas intends to continue that winning momentum at St Johnstone on Saturday.
The trip to Perth is the first of five Premiership games before the Scottish top flight goes into a three-week winter shutdown on January 3.
He said: “The boys are starting to find fluency and a real attacking play.
“It was a really strong performance.
“We started off on fire and managed to maintain that throughout the game.
“Conceding a goal was a bit of a letdown, but we managed to react and get a third goal so all in all it was a good day.”
Enjoying life in the Granite City
Having scored nine times for Livingston last season, Emmanuel-Thomas has netted just once for the Dons so far.
That goal was a superb strike in the 2-1 League Cup loss to Raith Rovers in August.
We have lift off from JET! ✈
— Premier Sports (@PremierSportsTV) August 15, 2021
The attacker has started just four of the 15 Premiership games with another five appearances off the bench.
Despite his lack of game time in the two months prior to starting against Livingston last week, Emmanuel-Thomas is enjoying life at Pittodrie.
He said: “It’s great (at Aberdeen) and I’ve enjoyed it from the moment I came.”