Callum Davidson won’t have Livingston on his mind when he picks his St Johnstone team to face Motherwell this weekend.
And it will be a Betfred Cup block out for the players who take the pitch at Fir Park as well.
Saints are in no position to take their eye off the ball in the Premiership and even if they were tucked more safely in mid-table or higher, looking further in the distance than the next match is a mindset to be avoided.
“One thing the players haven’t done this season is hold back and I don’t think they’ll be doing that,” said Davidson.
“They know how important the league is, first and foremost.
“That’s for me the biggest thing, the league. The cup is always a bonus.
“So, for me, Saturday’s the most important game and it’s the one I’ll think about.
“We are in the middle of a fight for survival and top six.
“That is the most important thing in my mind at the moment and it should be in the players’ minds as well.
“We want three points this weekend.
“It won’t be a team selection with Hampden in mind. It will be a team selection purely to win the game on Saturday.
“And after that we’ll see who’s available, who’s fit.
“Only then will I look at a team to win the game next Sunday.
“If anyone does hold back on Saturday then they will have less chance of playing the following weekend.”
There will be places up for grabs.
Davidson hasn’t even contemplated what his Hampden Park starting line-up may be, never mind pencil it in over a week in advance.
“It is a funny question,” he said. “Quite a few people have asked me that.
“At the moment I would probably say that I haven’t put much thought into it.
“I am very much looking at the next game coming up to see what we can do.
“There might be players on Saturday who perform really well and I then think I can’t leave them out.
“Even Sunday night after the game I never really looked at my team for next week.
“I usually wait until Tuesday or Wednesday in the week before I start to make my mind up.
“I look at certain things in games and what I think certain players can do.
“There will be places up for grabs.”
On-loan winger Glenn Middleton caught the eye with an impressive substitute performance against Celtic and Davidson is delighted with his expanding options in attack.
It gives me a headache, but it is a good headache.
“Glenn and Guy (Melamed) are probably two who are making a big impact for us at the moment,” he said.
“We know what Glenn can do and it is nice to see it.
“Guy’s assists and goals have been fantastic since he has played.
“It is great for me having these type of players wanting to play.
“It gives me a headache, but it is a good headache. It is an attacking one and I think we probably lacked that at the start of the season.”
Saints have four matches left before the league split. Davidson isn’t targeting perfection but the challenge he has set isn’t far off it.
“I am looking at three wins,” said the Perth boss. “Can we get three wins as quick as we can?
“That will put us in a stronger position and that starts on Saturday.
“The cup final is a bit of a distraction for me – we want to concentrate on this Saturday and how we go about our business.
“The league obviously gives you a chance to play in these cup finals so we need to make sure we stay in the league.
“We know it is a dog fight and I think the players have risen to the challenge over the past couple of months. We need to continue that until the end of the season.”
Davidson isn’t sure about his old Preston North End and Scotland team-mate Graham Alexander’s no jacket touchline look since he took over from Stephen Robinson at Motherwell, but he does know the qualities he will bring to his first management job north of the border.
“He’s soft really it is all for show!” he joked. “He is freezing on the sideline.”
Davidson added: “I think he still plays a similar formation (to predecessor Robinson). Whether he changes that after the result at the weekend (the heavy defeat to Hamilton Accies) I don’t know.
“All I know with Graham is how he sets his team up. They will be very hard to play against.
“He was at places where he had to change things. He is quite open-minded that way and he wants to win games.
“We are both pretty similar in that respect and that is probably why we get on so well.
“I will probably have a wee argument with him for 90 minutes on the sideline after 3pm then after that we will shake hands and get on again.”