St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin senses excitement rather than nerves as his players prepare for their biggest game of the season so far.
The Buddies host improving Hearts on Wednesday after dropping back into the Ladbrokes Premiership bottom two following Saturday’s 5-0 defeat at Celtic Park.
Saints will go ninth if they win and slump to the foot of the table if they lose and Goodwin is focusing on the opportunity rather than the threat.
The Irishman said: “Obviously Wednesday night is a huge game for everybody and we are looking forward to it.
“There’s no fear, no nerves, just go and enjoy the game, enjoy the occasion.
“It should be a great atmosphere, I have no doubt Hearts will bring a good set of support through with them and hopefully our fans will turn out in good numbers as well.
“The boys are excited, looking forward to it.
“The incentive is to open the gap even more between ourselves and Hearts, and if we win all of a sudden we would jump a couple of places. I think psychologically that would be a big boost to the fans and the players.”
Goodwin is confident his players have the mental strength to handle the occasion.
Hearts have revived their season with a William Hill Scottish Cup win over Rangers, an Edinburgh derby triumph at Easter Road and a point against third-placed Motherwell.
“Listen, there is no point in being anxious or uptight or anything like that,” Goodwin said.
“You can’t play to your full potential if you are riddled with nerves. I don’t expect that to be the case with the lads, they know exactly what is expected of them.
“Hearts are a very hard-working, organised team and we have got to match that effort, first and foremost.
“But they are all huge games now from here on in for every club. They are all massive games.
“There is going to be ups and downs between now and the end of the season for a lot of teams but, I keep saying it, I have a lot of faith in the boys and I believe we have enough in that dressing room to get ourselves out the situation that we are in.”