Third place is “up for grabs” in the Premiership this season, according to St Johnstone defender Jamie McCart.
But before the Perth men can even think about challenging for it, they want to put clear blue water between themselves and the bottom of the table.
Facing basement team, Motherwell, on Saturday gives them the opportunity to do just that.
McCart, whose Saints side have the incentive of pulling eight points clear of the Fir Park men, said: “I definitely believe the third spot is up for grabs.
“You see a club like Motherwell claiming third spot last season so if you take the two big Glasgow teams out of it then it’s all to play for.
“For us, we certainly have to aim to make sure we get into the top six again.
“First and foremost we need to make sure we separate ourselves from the bottom teams. We have had the performances but we need the wins.
“With a couple of wins, it can carry you three or four places up the table.
“We are only focusing on that and keeping up that winning momentum.”
Saints were far more convincing victors against St Mirren before the international break than the 1-0 scoreline would suggest. The visitors couldn’t have argued had it been a four or five goal margin.
Making sure they aren’t at the mercy of end-of-game twists is the next phase in this side’s development.
“It was important that we got the win against St Mirren after the two defeats to Aberdeen and Hibs within the space of a few days,” said McCart.
“We lost late goals in both of them.
“That win against St Mirren was massive for us. We really didn’t want to go into the break on the back of another loss.
“We’d played well from back to middle in the previous games. It was just the final third, creating chances where we were lacking a bit.
“Against St Mirren we had more than 20 shots.
“As we go on we’ll be looking to convert more and make the victories more comfortable. That’s the next stage for us.
“You know what football’s like – you could play terribly and win 10 games on the bounce. But if we can combine what we’ve been doing already and convert even more of our chances that will stand us in good stead.”
Callum Davidson’s formation is bringing the best out of McCart – but don’t expect the former Inverness Caley Thistle man to be making as many darts to the byeline as Jason Kerr on the other side of the pitch.
“Jason loves to run forward,” he said. “And I like to get on the ball a wee bit more than doing all that running!
“It’s been really good. The system suits the players we’ve got here and personally, I really enjoy it.
“You see a lot more of the ball in a three as a centre-back.
“We’ve been working really hard on it since pre-season and it has been drummed into us.”
If opposition managers are struggling to get to grips with Saints’ style of play, that will help the cause. But how other teams match-up is outwith their control.
McCart said: “We can take advantage of it a wee bit that teams are still trying to work us out. The St Mirren manager said he changed their formation to play against us.
“In terms of us trying to use that to our advantage, we are still playing the same way.
“We are still trying to play the way the gaffer is telling us to. Nothing has really changed regardless of how the opposition line up.
“Maybe we change a few small things but that’s on the other team if they want to change. We have confidence in ourselves.
“The manager demands intensity from us in training and in games.”
McCart believes that Motherwell will eventually go on to prove that their bottom of the table position is a false one.
“We have spoken about in the changing room,” he said. “It’s very surprising to see a side which finished third last season sitting there.
“I know a few Motherwell boys and they say they’ve been playing well. They have just suffered a few bad results and with a team like them, they are always due a result. We need to make sure we are on our toes and that the result isn’t against us.”