St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin claims they would have had a top-six spot wrapped up already if it had not been for Covid-19.
Saints have been one of the hardest-hit teams in the Scottish Premiership, at one stage losing all three goalkeepers and then seeing two games forfeited before winning an appeal.
With injuries and suspensions also biting after a good start to the season, the Buddies suffered a six-match losing run.
But they have turned things around and will secure a top-half finish if they win at Hamilton on Saturday.
“You are always going to get some bumps in the road and it’s how you react to those,” Goodwin said.
“I am glad to say I have got a really good staff around me and we have some great characters in the dressing room.
“It would have been very easy at that point to feel sorry for ourselves and not fought our way out of it. But we did.
“I know every manager will probably say the same, but we had a lot of issues off the park with Covid and some of those results coincided with things that were outwith our control.
“I always believed in the group, I thought the recruitment we did in the summer was good and I felt really confident before a ball was kicked.
“There were so many curve-balls that were thrown at us that you don’t how to prepare for. You are almost just reacting on a daily basis to a lot of negative news regarding Covid tests and one thing or another.
“I am really proud of how the club have come through this season and we are so close to achieving what we set out to do and I just hope we can go and finish the job off. Because I genuinely believe if it wasn’t for Covid we would have another six or seven points on the board and we might be up there fighting for that fourth spot.
“That maybe sounds a little bit dramatic, but two or three of those defeats that we suffered on that six-defeat run probably wouldn’t have happened if I had my best team available.”
The Buddies travel to Lanarkshire in pole position for the final top-six place, but a St Johnstone win in Perth would leave them needing three points. And Goodwin wants total focus on their game.
“We had a meeting on Monday morning and I stressed that to the lads,” Goodwin said. “I expect St Johnstone to win, it’s as simple as that.
“No disrespect to Ross County, I know they are fighting for their lives, but I do think that St Johnstone will beat Ross County on the day. St Johnstone are one of the form teams in the league and had great success in the cup.
“I just don’t want my players thinking about what is happening in the St Johnstone game whatsoever. We need to go to Hamilton and win, it’s as simple as that.”