Dundee United full-back Liam Smith says the Terrors are aiming to emulate Tayside neighbours St Johnstone as they target cup glory.
Saints lifted the Scottish Cup back in 2014, defeating United in the final, and won the Betfred Cup last month, beating Livingston 1-0 at Hampden, to cap off a historic period of success for the Perth club.
The Tangerines will face either Cowdenbeath or Partick Thistle at Tannadice in the Scottish Cup third round on April 3 and Smith believes Saints’ success can act as an inspiration.
“We had the disappointment in the Betfred, going out in the groups, which was probably a black mark on the season overall,” the 24-year-old said.
“If we can go on a run in the other cup, then it’s something we’ll look to do and, hopefully, go further in that.
“St Johnstone were in our group in the Betfred and we were sitting there thinking what could have been?
“It’s definitely something we’ll take inspiration from and, hopefully, go on a good run.”
United narrowly miss out on top-six spot but they must finish strong and secure seventh
As for their league aspirations, former Ayr United, Hearts and St Mirren defender Smith believes it’s important they finish strong and secure seventh spot in the Premiership table.
He added: “As the season has gone on our goal was to finish in the top six and we’ve missed out on that so it’s important we don’t let it drop and we finish strongly.
“We’ll take it into next season and it’ll be our aim again.
“We’ve done reasonably well against the teams in the bottom six so we’ll be looking to go and win every game.
“Finishing seventh and ending strongly is something to build on going forward.”
Reflecting on the season as a whole, Smith insists they can be pleased with their efforts and believes it’s starting to come together for the Terrors under boss Micky Mellon.
“We’re disappointed that we’ve just missed out on the top six,” he continued.
“There were games along the way we probably should’ve taken more points from or done better in that we can look back on now.
“We gave ourselves a lot to do going into the last four fixtures, having to play both the Old Firm.
“I think we can be happy with where we are, though, and the progress we’ve made throughout the season.
“Other teams that have come up and consolidated get a lot of credit for it but, with the history of this club and the expectations here, it’s more about where the club want to go eventually.
“I think, first and foremost, first season in, we can be reasonably pleased with how we’ve done.
“If we finish the season strong then we can build and take it into the next one.
“It was always going to be a building process, and the new manager coming in adds to that, us coming into this league and seeing where we were at.
“We started off looking for a solid foundation and we’ve built out of that.
“The understanding and partnerships on the pitch are coming together now between all the players.
“We try to do the right things and, hopefully, moving forward it comes off more often than not.”
No fans ‘a big miss’ for Terrors defender Smith
One big disappointment for United in their first campaign back in the top-flight since 2015/16 will be playing in front of an empty Tannadice.
Smith says the players missed the Arabs’ backing and reckons their absence was something particularly evident as they took the game to Celtic in the closing stages on Sunday.
The Tangerines had plenty of opportunities to perform a smash and grab on the Hoops but just couldn’t add the required finishing touches to their positive play.
Of playing in front of no crowd, Smith commented: “It’s definitely a big miss because they come in good numbers as well and make a lot of noise.
“Any club with fans like that, they’ll miss the atmosphere, especially when we’re on top like that the noise behind us can push us on.
“Hopefully, sooner rather than later they can get back in.
“On Sunday, Celtic would’ve brought a good away support and other teams like Rangers would’ve been the same.
“It would’ve made for a great atmosphere and, hopefully, next season we can get that.
“We took them right to the end.
“In the last 10 minutes we were probably the team in control and I think that says something that we’re disappointed we didn’t take more from the game.”