St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright believes his team are already showing that they can deal with “pressure situations”.
And they’ll have another one at Forfar tomorrow, when progress to the knock-out stage of the Betfred Cup is at stake.
“It’s a difficult competition at this stage of the season,” said Wright. “It keeps getting mentioned that it’s only pre-season games.
“But they have a meaning and have an outcome. If you don’t get the right result you are out of the competition.
“We realistically know there are only two competitions we can challenge for. So it’s vitally important.
“The players have had pressure situations in all three games.
“Against East Fife it was important we won the penalties. They dealt with that.
“If you go to Montrose and get beat in normal time, that’s you virtually out of the competition.
“The same with the Falkirk result. If they beat us on Tuesday, everything would have been out of our hands.
“No team will be 100 per cent at this stage of the season but I’m happy with how we’re progressing.”
Saints only need a draw at Station Park to make it through to the last 16.
“It’s a two club race now,” said Wright. “Forfar need to beat us so it’s set up for an exciting finale to the group.
“We’re going there to win because eight points won’t be enough to get you one of the four second places.
“We need to get a positive result. Ideally we want to win the group with 11 points and hopefully that will be enough to get us seeded.
“But there is absolutely no way we are taking the game lightly. We need to go focused and be aware of their threat.”
Illness is likely to rule Tuesday night’s matchwinner, Stefan Scougall, out of the game but Murray Davidson will be available.
“Murray is fine,” Wright reported. “He didn’t come into work on Wednesday and we kept him away from the group.
“But I think Stefan Scougall is going to struggle. He just wasn’t feeling well on Tuesday but it was nothing to do with the facial knock he got.
“He’s had to go to his doctor and wouldn’t have been able to train on Thursday if we were in.
“We’ll assess him on Friday but I would say, at the minute, he is doubtful.”
On what he expects from Scougall when the former Sheffield United playmaker does return to the side, Wright said: “There are two things with Stefan. We probably haven’t got him on the ball in the areas we want often enough.
“When he have, he probably hasn’t produced as much as what we saw on Tuesday night.
“That is what I want from him. I want more goals, more shots and more assists. But we need to play well as a team.
“Because of how we are playing at the minute, it does suit him.”
On the injured players, Wright said: “Greg Hurst is probably the only one that is added to the squad.
“Ali McCann is still a few days off full training, Joe Shaughnessy will be assessed at the weekend again but is making good progress.
“Brian Easton is making slow progress and Chris Kane won’t train this week. The best we’ll look for him is to train next week.
“That has been disappointing for him because he’s had a couple of injuries this pre-season. He has a lot of hard work ahead of him.”