St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson has challenged his side to complete a “phenomenal” cinch Premiership survival mission by hauling themselves out of the bottom two.
With four games to play, Saints are 11th, five points clear of last-placed Dundee and five points adrift of both Aberdeen and St Mirren, whom they host on Saturday.
As things stand, they will have to enter the end-of-season play-offs to try to secure their top-flight survival but Davidson is adamant the Perth side – who endured a 10-game losing streak through the winter – can still catch teams above them and get themselves to safety.
“The determination is to avoid the play-offs,” said the Saints boss. “We want to get above that. That’s our aim.
“It will be an unbelievable achievement if we can get to 10th from where we were. It would be phenomenal.
“We’re all striving to do it, and there’s a chance for us to do it, starting Saturday at 3pm. In terms of trying to finish 10th, this is probably a must-win, although there are still a few games after that.”
Saints – who have lost just one game in their last five – are fuelled by the knowledge that a victory at home to struggling St Mirren would take them within two points of the Buddies.
“The incentive is there,” said Davidson. “First and foremost it’s about staying away from 12th. That’s the biggest thing considering where we were. Now it’s about trying to get points and catch teams above us.
“Can we put them under pressure? That’s what this game on Saturday is about. It’s just about trying to pick up as many points as we can and hopefully get another couple of wins between now and the end of the season which will put the teams above us under pressure.
“From where we were eight or nine games ago to where we are now, it gives us belief. All our remaining games are winnable but they’re also losable as well so we’ve got to make sure we’re mentally right.”