Manager Ray McKinnon has vowed that Dundee United will “throw everything at it” as the promotion race reaches crunch time.
The Tangerines host Championship leaders Hibs on Friday night in a much-anticipated match that will decide whether or not they have a realistic chance of catching the Easter Road men.
Victory for Neil Lennon’s team at Tannadice will put them 10 points ahead of United, who would then be left battling it out with Falkirk and Morton to decide the play-off pecking order.
However, should McKinnon’s side do what they did on December 2 and get the three points, that would mean they were only four adrift with a game in hand against St Mirren to follow.
Therefore, they could be driving back from Paisley next Wednesday night just a single point behind.
What an interesting scenario that would be.
While there may be plenty of ifs and buts, one thing that is certain, according to McKinnon, is that his players will be chucking the proverbial kitchen sink at Hibs and the other teams they face between now and the end of the campaign.
“We are going to throw everything at it,” said the United boss.
“Draws for us right at this minute are not any good.
“So we are going to go for it.
“If, in the last 15 or 20 minutes of games, we are drawing then we will throw everything at the match in order to try and get a victory.
“That will be our mentality.
“We are delighted to be sitting there still with a chance of winning this league, especially when you consider where we were last summer and what we inherited.
“Now, because of the position we are in where we have this opportunity, we are going to give it our best shot and see where it takes us.
“The message to the players has been a simple one – try to win as many games as possible.
“It would be a huge bonus if we could beat Hibs and bring the gap down to four points with a game in hand.
“We have drawn down at Easter Road and been beaten down there but we also won at home.
“So we have played Hibs three times and there has only really been the once when we weren’t at our best.
“We need to concentrate on what we did well at Tannadice and if we can replicate that atmosphere and commitment then we should have a good chance.
“One thing is for sure: if we win on Friday it makes it a lot more interesting.”
McKinnon was at Easter Road on Saturday to see holders Hibs reach the semi-finals of the William Hill Scottish Cup by beating Ayr United 3-1.
He said: “I watched them and they are a right good side.
“They could have won by more goals than they did.
“They have quality and were lively up top.
“They have a chance of winning the Scottish Cup again and they are a really good outfit.
“Maybe that shows the strength of our league.”
McKinnon confirmed that both Lewis Toshney and Coll Donaldson will be considered for Friday’s game.
He said: “Tosher has been running for the last week and a bit and is now back training.
“He will be available for selection, as will Coll Donaldson after returning from the trial in Poland.
“I have had a chat with him because his head has been all over the place.
“He just needs to refocus and he will still be a valuable member of our squad and be treated as such.”
The United gaffer also revealed that Nick van der Velden’s announcement that he will be retiring as a player at the end of this season did not come as a great surprise to him.
McKinnon said: “I have known that for a while.
“He is going to do his coaching badges here in the summer then go back to Holland to work with AZ Alkmaar at under-15 level.
“He actually had a job to go to last summer but he wanted to come abroad as a player and experience that.
“Now he’s done that and thoroughly enjoyed himself.
“He spoke to me about a month ago to say he’s planning to go into the coaching side of it and I’m delighted for Nick.
“He’s a great lad so good luck to him.”
United have welcomed former Manchester City academy player Wato Kuate on trial.
The defensive midfielder, who was born in Cameroon and is a Portuguese passport holder, played in yesterday’s under-20 match against Hibs at Forfar.
McKinnon confirmed: “He was at Man City and been in Greece (and Turkey) but he is still only 21.
“Of all the trialists we have had in and looked at in training, he is one who has really stood out.”
Meanwhile, United fans have been allocated the East and South stands at Fir Park for the Irn-Bru Cup final against St Mirren on Saturday, March 25, with tickets now on sale.