Barry Robson told his Aberdeen side to “go and grab” third place in the cinch Premiership as they prepare for the visit of St Mirren on Wednesday night.
The 2-1 defeat by Hearts at Tynecastle at the weekend reduced the gap between the third-placed Dons and the Jambos to just two points with two fixtures remaining.
A win over the Buddies coupled with a Hearts failure to beat Rangers at Ibrox would guarantee Aberdeen a third-place finish before they travel to Celtic Park on Saturday.
“The message has been clear to them,” said Robson who will have Graeme Shinnie back from suspension, with Luis ‘Duk’ Lopes and Ross McCrorie back in training.
“I said that today when we were doing our match prep.
“I said ‘this is down to you, this is how you have performed and you have given yourself an unbelievable opportunity when everyone wrote you off and remember that. It’s in your hands now so go and grab it’.”
The defeat at Tynecastle followed a goalless draw at home to Hibernian and a 2-0 defeat by Rangers at Ibrox but Robson stressed the quality of performance.
He said: “Recent performances have been good. Down at Rangers, we were outstanding.
“We could have come away with the victory. Hibs at home, it was a difficult game, Hibs really going at it.
“We had three or four players missing against Hearts down there and the boys stayed in the fight.
“I thought we were really good in the first 20 minutes. So I have been really pleased. Performances have been good.”
Saints put in an impressive performance in the 2-2 draw with champions Celtic at Parkhead on Saturday but Robson is hoping home advantage will count.
He said: “St Mirren have not changed their system all season.
“They played the way they play, they pressed the way they press, they are well-organised and they know exactly what they are doing.
“It’s always a difficult game – no matter if you play them at home or away.
“Obviously we have our weapons that we like to use against them and hopefully we can do that well.
“We have had good preparation for the game and it is a game we are looking forward to.
“We have our fans behind us, Pittodrie has been bouncing for the last two months. It has been so good.
“It is the busiest I have seen it in a long time and the players have really taken the fans with them and the fans have helped the players perform, so hopefully we get that again tomorrow.”
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