St Johnstone are still in “control of their own destiny” as far as the top six is concerned, defender Scott Tanser has pointed out.
And they are determined to get a win against Hibs tonight that will keep it that way.
Victory will make the Easter Road side’s return to the top half of the table, and Saints’ drop to the bottom half, a brief one.
Recent form would point to an away success at McDiarmid Park but confidence is high in the Saints dressing room that they can start to accumulate points again.
“The main focus has to be on ourselves,” said Tanser. “We are in control of our destiny and we want to get back to winning ways.
“These are good games to be involved in. It’s a good race for places in the top six and we need to play well.
“Against Aberdeen I felt we were good but we gave away two sloppy goals so that’s something we need to get rid of from our game.
“We have had a decent season so far. It has been a bit up and down at times but we are in a decent position.
“At the start of the season we were pretty much a new team so it took time to gel and when it did before Christmas we went on that great run.
“Since the break we haven’t been back to that but we’ve had a tough run of games and the lads are confident we can go on another run like we did before.
“We need to start scoring more goals but that’s down to everyone, not just the strikers.
“Everyone has to have their input into that because if you don’t score you don’t win games – it’s as simple as that.”
In Hibs games gone by, Tanser would have had to deal with Martin Boyle coming down the right wing. The pacey forward’s absence through injury doesn’t make his night’s work any simpler, though.
“Martin Boyle is obviously one of Hibs’ main players so it’s a boost for us that he’s out,” said the Englishman.
“But they have a lot of quality in their team. Marc McNulty has come in and done really well, while Stevie Mallan has been influential this season.
“So we are doing our homework on Hibs. They have a new manager so they might change a few things in terms of how they play.
“He did a very good job at Barnsley. I don’t think I played against one of his teams down there but obviously everyone knew the impact he had there.
“He did a very good job there and I’m sure he’ll be delighted with the way he’s started.”
Tanser will soon have competition for his left-back place, as Brian Easton continues getting game-time for the reserves.
“I’m really happy for Easty,” he said. “It’s been a really tough year for him.
“Since I came in I’ve been in the team because he’s been out injured but I welcome him back and the competition will be a good thing for both of us.”
Meanwhile, Tanser has paid a big compliment to his fellow defender, Jason Kerr.
“Jason has been excellent since he came into the side and I’d say he’s the best young defender I’ve played with,” he said.
“He’s only 22, which is young for a centre half, but he’s got loads of experience.
“To play that position you need to be strong, read the game well and know what defending is all about.
“You also need to be comfortable on the ball.
“Jason has all of those qualities and there’s no doubt he can go to the very top.
“It’s no surprise the Scotland manager has been to a game watching him. He’s been in the under-21s before but his game has gone up a level since then.
“All he can do is continue playing well here and marking someone like Sam Cosgrove so well last weekend will have only enhanced his chances of getting a call up.
“His partnership with Joe has been impressive. The pair of them are doing really well for us and hopefully that continues.”