Michael O’Halloran has challenged St Johnstone to kick off a surge up the Premiership table by defeating Hibernian on Saturday.
After their cup double success last term, Saints have struggled to generate any consistency and have spent the entire season so far in the bottom six of the cinch Premiership.
Currently ninth, a win at McDiarmid Park this weekend would take Callum Davidson’s team above Hibs – who have lost their last five league games – and could even elevate them into the top six if St Mirren and Aberdeen both drop points.
He said: “I was just looking at the league table and it’s pretty close. We’re not far from the top half, and that’s our aim. Hibs are not in the best run but they were very good in the semi-final last week.
“They deservedly came third last year so we know they’re a good side and we know the threat they possess. But we’re at home and we’ll be looking to stamp our own authority on the game.
“We can climb a few places if we win so there’s a lot of incentive there. We finished top six last year, so hopefully we can get some sort of run going and put the teams nearer the top of the table under pressure.”
St Johnstone have been rocked by injuries to key trio Stevie May, Glenn Middleton and David Wotherspoon, while striker Chris Kane is suspended for the clash with Hibs. New attacker Viv Solomon-Otabor is likely to be included in the squad.
O’Halloran is confident Saints can cope with the absence of so many big players in the attacking department of the team.
He said: “As one of the forward players, the onus is on me to create and score goals but as a team collectively we’ve got plenty players in there who can pop up with a goal or create something.
“The players who are out are obviously a big loss for us but we’ve got players who are more than capable of stepping up.
“We’ve not got a big squad but we’ve got a lot of boys who can come in and they know their role. The gaffer’s obviously drilled a system into us so no matter who plays, we know what we’re expected to do when we play.”