Dundee United forward Ryan Dow aims to take the chance to go into a game without worrying about other results – but he knows Hibernian will also welcome the opportunity.
United fell eight points adrift at the foot of the Ladbrokes Premiership last Saturday, four days after missing the chance to cut the gap on Kilmarnock to two points.
Consecutive defeats by Partick Thistle and Inverness have given them a mountainous task to avoid relegation in the final five games but they can forget about their plight until after Saturday’s William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against Hibs.
The Leith club will also be glad of the chance to focus on a positive after a spectacular collapse of their league form. They have gone from Championship title challengers to struggling for second spot after taking five points from a possible 24.
And Dow feels a change of scenery for both teams could make for an entertaining tussle at Hampden.
Dow said: “The league campaign has been a big disappointment and this is a different competition, a one-off game, you go into this game with a wee bit less pressure.
“You don’t need to be aware of other results like we have been, looking at the likes of Kilmarnock and Hamilton after a game. This is a one-off game so the boys are looking forward to it.
“I’m sure Hibs will probably feel the same, they have the pressure of the play-offs to come and I’m sure they will be thinking there is less pressure on a cup semi-final and will be looking forward to it as much as we are.
“We are not thinking about the league this week, we are just thinking about the chance to get into a cup final, it would be our third cup final in three years.”
United have reached those finals by beating Rangers and Aberdeen but Dow admits this game has a different feeling.
“The last couple of semi-finals we have played, we were high up in the league and flying with confidence going into them,” he said.
“This is a wee bit of a different one, we are bottom of the league and have lost the last couple of matches.
“But I’m sure everyone else is thinking the same as me: it’s one opportunity to turn it around and get into a final.
“Both teams are not in the best form. The last few weeks we have been up and down and Hibs have been on a wee bit of a run, but I’m sure that will just make both teams more determined to put it right on Saturday.”
Dow knows that victory at Hampden would give them a major boost going into the post-split fixtures.
“We should be able to lift our spirits anyway and get up for the games, but you can’t kid anyone on: if you get into a Scottish Cup final, it’s going to lift everyone around the club,” he said.
“If we get a win on Saturday I’m sure the boys will take the momentum and spirit into the league games.”
Dow’s future beyond the summer remains uncertain and St Johnstone are trying to sign him on a Bosman deal, but the 24-year-old insists he will not allow the speculation to affect him.
“It’s quite easy, I don’t really think about it,” he said. “Your future will take care of itself at the end of the season.
“We have still got to fight relegation and a cup semi-final so it couldn’t be further away from my mind. Just concentrate until the end of the season and what will be, will be.”