Chris Cadden admits Hibernian must be “up for the challenge” of a formidable three-game run to finish the season if they are to qualify for Europe.
The fifth-placed Hibees conclude their cinch Premiership campaign with home games against the top two of Rangers and Celtic followed by an Edinburgh derby away to fourth-placed Hearts.
“It’s going to be tough but that’s what you’re in the top six for,” said 26-year-old Cadden. “These sort of games are what you want. We’ve got to be up for the challenge.
“If you want to do anything, you’ve got to play big games and have big performances and big moments. If you want to finish the season well, that’s what you’ve got to do.
“That’s Scottish football, that’s how the split works, we’ve just got to be up for the challenge.”
Hibs can still realistically finish anywhere between fourth and sixth in the cinch Premiership. Fourth guarantees a European place, fifth would be enough as long as Celtic beat Inverness in the Scottish Cup final, and sixth would see them miss. Cadden is trying not to get embroiled in the different permutations just yet.
“I look at the league table after games but I try not to concentrate on it too much,” he said. “It’s hard, but you try and focus on yourself and don’t want to get caught up in what other teams are doing.
“There are so many different scenarios in terms of where we could finish but we just need to focus on controlling ourselves, controlling our performances and after that see where it puts us in the table. That’s the way I’ve been approaching it.”
Cadden is well aware that if Hibs can keep themselves within touching distance of Hearts over the next two games, next Saturday’s Edinburgh derby could become a straight shootout for fourth place.
“We’re not looking too far ahead, but, yes, we’ve got that possibility looking forward,” he said. “But we’ve got to put ourselves in a good position for that, and that’s what we’ll try and do.
“We’ve got Rangers and Celtic before that, so we need to concentrate on that.”
Sunday’s match against Rangers has extra spice as it falls on the seventh anniversary of Hibs’ famous 2016 Scottish Cup final triumph over the Ibrox side.
“Hibs v Rangers is, in general, always a big game, especially at Easter Road,” said Cadden. “You can tell the atmosphere and taste that it’s a wee bit different. It’s a big game in general but the anniversary will make it even bigger.”