David Martindale has reset the terms of success for Livingston this season following their Betfred Cup final defeat to St Johnstone.
The Livi boss began the “healing process” right after the final whistle of Sunday’s 1-0 defeat at Hampden Park and is now focusing on the Scottish Premiership and Wednesday’s visit of champions-elect Rangers.
The West Lothian side have four fixtures remaining before the split and are in fifth place, a point ahead of St Mirren and five points in front of Dundee United while fourth-placed Aberdeen are eight points ahead with all three having played two games more than the Lions.
“I spoke about it with the boys, we got to a cup final but you have to put that to the side now,” Martindale said.
“If you had won the cup final you could probably class that as having a successful season.
“I think getting to a cup final – I don’t know if you could class that as a success if I am honest because you never won it.
“I think we have got to finish in the top six – I would be quite happy with that.
“Anything better than fifth, I would be over the moon and delighted but that is going to be a tough task to get that.
“But I really do want to go into the next period of games (post-split) playing teams in the top six. You want to be going back to Parkhead, Ibrox, these types of venues.
“As managers and players, you want to be playing against the best teams in the league in the best venues. So I would class top six as having a successful season, a good season.
“Three points probably secures top six. I think our aspirations have got to be a wee bit higher than finishing sixth but, again, we have no divine right.
“We could finish seventh. There is no entitlement to finish in the top six – we have to go and make that happen.”
First up for Martindale is relentless Rangers who are 15 points clear of Old Firm rivals Celtic at the top of the table with a game in hand, unbeaten in 30 league games and who will play Slavia Prague in the last 16 of the Europa League later this month.
He said: “It is an opportunity to get three points but it is also an opportunity to take three points off Rangers, to be the first club in Scotland to beat Rangers in the league this season.
“So there’s a lot of carrots attached to (Wednesday) and I have tried to re-emphasise that to the players.”