Dundee United defender Paul Quinn is confident they can cope with the pressure of lagging behind league leaders St Mirren.
The Tangerines welcome Morton to Tannadice today, knowing a win is essential after dropping five out of six points in their last two Championship fixtures against Falkirk and Dunfermline.
They go into the game on the back of a professional 2-0 success at Alloa in the William Hill Scottish Cup last weekend so the aim is to take that momentum into the clash against the Greenock men.
Every point is a prisoner now for United but Quinn insists the players can rise to the daunting challenge of chasing the Buddies.
“It is going to be a real push to the end of the season now,” said the former Motherwell, Aberdeen and Ross County man.
“That is a challenge we are all looking forward to.
“The focus is on the league, although being in the cup should help us as well.
“From the start of the season, I have believed that we have to have all our attention on how we are playing and not worry about what other teams are doing.
“We are capable of closing this gap.
“Over the last few weeks, mainly because of the heavy defeat at Falkirk, we have had criticism – rightly so.
“But we are still not looking behind us. We are looking forward.
“We know the gap is there and that puts extra pressure on us but we can deal with it.”
The win over the Wasps may not have been eye-catching but it did help settle things down after a fraught festive period.
It also enabled manager Csaba Laszlo to give game time to a few of his new faces, with Thomas Mikkelsen, Emil Lyng and Idris Kadded all seeing action.
Quinn has welcomed the new arrivals with open arms, arguing that the boosting of the squad is timely.
“It was needed,” he said.
“What many outsiders don’t know is that there are a few in the starting 11 who have been playing with injuries at various times.
“So when you see that freshness coming in and see that you can get help from new players, that might mean you don’t have to put your body through 90 minutes.
“The manager is very open about that. If you can do a job and get through whatever (time) you can on the pitch then great.
“A few weeks ago, there were three or four of us on the pitch who were struggling.
“Now, when we look to change it, we will have fresh faces – players who can make a difference.
“So we have made the new lads welcome.
“It’s just about how quickly we can get everyone up to speed and right on form.”
A bonus for the Tangerines today is that they are finally going home, having only played at Tannadice once – the 4-1 win over Brechin on January 2 – since Christmas.
Quinn said: “I think we have dictated most of the games at home.
“We have managed to get the ball down and pass it.
“We hope to do that again against Morton even though we know we are playing a good side who have just had an excellent win over Dunfermline in the cup.
“They have good individual players so it won’t be easy but we are at the stage where every match is going to be crucially important.
“We have just played in the cup but it feels like we are almost in a cup competition in the league, where you just have to keep winning.”
Mikkelsen is an injury doubt for the Ton game, with the knee problem he picked up against Alloa flaring up during training.
The Dane could still make it but wideman Paul McMullan will definitely miss out through suspension.