Boss Jim Goodwin has warned against the “arrogance” of thinking Aberdeen are too big to be dragged into a relegation play-off battle.
With five games remaining this season, Goodwin intends to lead the Dons to a best possible seventh-placed Premiership finish.
However, he insists there can be no complacency about the threat of being sucked into a play-off dog-fight.
The Dons are six points ahead of 11th placed St Johnstone who occupy that play-off spot.
Goodwin has pointed to the sobering fates of Hearts, Hibs and Dundee United who all suffered relegation in recent years.
The Pittodrie gaffer wants any danger of a relegation play-off killed off quickly with a win against Livingston at Pittodrie tomorrow.
No complacency on Goodwin’s watch
Goodwin said: “I wouldn’t dare be so arrogant as to think we are too big a club to get dragged into that kind of thing.
“Certainly clubs in the past have all been there – the likes of Hibs, Hearts and Dundee United.
“After the Ross County game I made it clear to the players none of us should be thinking about going on holiday or easing off now that we are coming to the end of the season.
“We still have a hell of a lot of football to play and we need to win games.
“We need to get those wins on the board as early as possible to pull ourselves away from that bottom of the table.
“But also to try to secure seventh place, the best of the rest.”
Summer squad rebuild steps up
Before overseeing a summer squad rebuild Goodwin’s target is finishing seventh.
Players will then exit at the end of the season to make way for a summer reconstruction.
Goodwin has already terminated the contracts of Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Mikey Devlin.
Long-serving defender Andy Considine will exit Aberdeen at the end of the campaign when his contract expires.
A new deal for the 35-year-old was taken off the table after talks broke down.
Praise for players told they can leave
Goodwin has now broken the news to all players with no future at the club that they will exit at the end of the season.
He has yet to confirm all the players that will leave.
However, the Dons boss has praised the professionalism of those set for a summer exit.
He said: “We have spoken pretty much to all the ones that have been told if there is an offer there or not.
“Those honest conversations have been had.
“I have to say the response of the players has been very, very professional.
“Nothing less than I would expect.
“It has been a very disappointing season, there’s no getting away from that.
“There’s no one here going to try to pull the wool over anybody’s eyes.”
Sympathy for axed Shaun Maloney
The pressures of managing in the Premiership were highlighted this week when Aberdeen-raised Shaun Maloney was axed by Hibs.
The Easter Road club, like Aberdeen, will also finish in the bottom six.
Maloney was sensationally axed after just four months in charge.
The former Celtic, Aston Villa and Wigan Athletic player was sacked following Hibs’ Scottish Cup semi-final defeat to Hearts.
Goodwin has sympathy for Maloney but accepts it is Hibs’ owner Ron Gordon’s prerogative to make any change.
Last month Goodwin led the Reds to a 3-1 defeat of Hibs at Pittodrie.
Goodwin, 40, said: “First and foremost I’m really disappointed for Shaun.
“I’ve known him for a long time and we came through the Celtic Academy together way back in the late nineties.
“He went on to have a very successful playing career.
“I’m gutted for him, as I would be for any other manager, whether that is a young manager or an experienced one.
“But in particular for someone as young as Shaun, a similar age to myself, who is trying to make his way in the game.
“Mr Gordon, the owner of Hibs, is entitled to make decisions he feels are necessary for his club.
“I don’t think 19 games is enough time to get your points across and ideas over to the players.
“I wish Shaun every success wherever he ends up.”
Montgomery set for return to action
Meanwhile on loan Celtic teenage left-back Adam Montgomery has returned to training.
The 19-year-old has been sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Montgomery last featured in a 1-1 draw with Dundee United on February 26.
The teen full-back arrived in the January transfer window on a short-term loan until the end of the season.
Winger Matty Kennedy and Dylan McGeouch are both ruled out for the Livingston match.
Goodwin said: “Adam Montgomery started training again.
“Dylan won’t make the weekend.
“Matty is out, as is the young goalkeeper Tom Ritchie.
“Everyone else is back involved.”