Dundee United are tantalisingly close to securing a top six berth in the Premiership for the first time since 2014/15.
And the opportunity to seal their place with victory against fierce city foes, Dundee, is a mouth-watering one.
The Tannadice outfit are firm favourites to complete the job following a run of just one defeat in their last nine league matches.
However, jeopardy abounds — and Courier Sport has compiled every permutation relevant to the Tangerines ahead of D-Day.
What must United do?
Let’s begin with the simple stuff because it’s all very much in Dundee United’s hands.
As long as they avoid defeat against the Dee, United are home and hosed.
A draw would mean Ross County (seventh) and Livingston (eighth) would be unable to catch them.
What if Dundee claim victory at Tannadice?
In which case, the games that matter are Aberdeen vs Ross County, Hibs’ clash with city rivals Hearts and Livingston’s home fixture against Motherwell.
Although St Mirren, who face Rangers on Sunday, retain slim top six hopes, they cannot catch Dundee United. That game is irrelevant for these purposes.
Should United lose on Saturday, the scenarios which would see them slip out of the top half of the Premiership are:
- Wins for Motherwell, Hibs and Ross County — with the latter requiring victory by a margin that cancels out United’s two-goal advantage in the table.
- A triumph for the Hibees, combined with Ross County and Livingston both winning by a margin that cancels out United’s superior goal difference.
- Also mathematically possible, if rather preposterous, is a Motherwell draw and victories for Hibs and Ross County — providing United lose heavily enough to wipe out a superior goal difference of SIX compared to the Steelmen.
So, unless Dundee go 6-0 up at Tannadice, the Tangerines’ faithful needn’t fret too much about that last one.
What if sides finish level on goal difference?
With scope for both Ross County and Livingston to finish level on points with Courts’ charges, goal difference could very well come into play — and United’s advantage is slim.
The Tannadice men sit on -6, while both County and Livi have -8.
It is perfectly reasonable to think that two, or even all three, of those sides could be locked together on points and goal difference come 4.50 p.m. on Saturday.
Should that be the case, Dundee United do not fare well.
United have scored 29 goals this term, while County have notched 44 and the Lions have rippled the net 32 times.
So in the event of being level on points and goal difference with either, or both, of those sides, United would tumble down the table.