Livingston’s James Penrice is braced for an intense mid-table showdown with St Mirren on Saturday as the battle for a top-six place hots up.
With only four rounds of fixtures to play before the cinch Premiership splits, Aberdeen, Hibernian, Livi and Saints are separated by just three points.
The sixth-place Lions are just a point above the seventh-place Buddies, and Penrice knows this weekend’s clash in Paisley could have a big bearing on his side’s hopes of finishing in the top half of the table and competing for a European spot in the closing weeks of the season.
“Every game from now until the end of the season will be huge,” said the 24-year-old. “St Mirren are obviously going for the top six as well so it will be two teams wanting to win.
“These games at the end of the season can become a battle and I think that’s what it will be on Saturday. The games between us have been really tight this season so it should be a good game.
“I think it will probably add a bit more spice to the match for the fans because there’s only a point separating us.
“As a club we want to be in the top six, and obviously St Mirren do as well, so it will be massive on Saturday. It will probably have a say in what’s going to happen (regarding the top six).”
Livingston missed out on the top six in agonising fashion in the last pre-split round of fixtures last season. Penrice is determined to ensure that this time round they are in a position to get the financial and football rewards that come from playing against the top teams in the closing weeks of the campaign.
“The prize is huge because everyone wants to be in that top six,” he said. “It’s massive for a club like Livingston to try and keep boys on (on new contracts).
“The gaffer won’t know his budget until we know if we’ve got top six. Then you’ve also got the possibility of getting into Europe, which would be massive for the club as well.
“There are a whole host of things that can happen but we need to go and make it happen. We can’t just keep saying we want the top six and then we don’t get the wins.”