Ryan Edwards admits Dundee United will be kicking themselves if they fail to make the top six after putting themselves in a strong position going into the last two games before the cinch Premiership split.
There are seven teams still in with a genuine shout of claiming the last three places in the top half alongside Celtic, Rangers and Hearts, which would allow them to continue their pursuit of a place in the Europa Conference League.
United – who play Hibernian away on Saturday and then Dundee at home next weekend – are currently fourth, two points ahead of the chasing pack, but back-to-back setbacks in those matches could see them slip into the bottom six and miss out on the chance to qualify for Europe.
“Looking at it points-wise, a place in the top six is probably ours to lose,” said defender Edwards. “It’s in our hands. We know if we win at Hibs, it will probably all but secure top six for us.
“We don’t just want top six though, we want that fourth spot because we know what the prize is for finishing there in terms of European football.
“I’m led to believe that if we finish fourth, we might only have to play one qualifier to get into the group stages, which is all the motivation you need. I don’t think many boys in the squad have played in Europe so it’s a massive incentive for us.”
United will be backed by around 2,000 travelling supporters at Easter Road as they bid to claim their top-six berth and boost their chances of getting into Europe.
Fifth-place Hibs are in desperate need of a positive result to stay in the top six as they face a trip to in-form Hearts in their last game before the split.
And Edwards is inspired by memories of United’s last trip to Leith when they produced arguably their best display of the season to win 3-0 in October.
“It’s a massive game for both teams,” said Edwards. “If we win on Saturday, it puts Hibs to bed and they can’t catch us (before the split).
“If we can get anywhere close to the performance we had at Easter Road the last time, we’ll be in for a good day. We’ve got a massive following behind us.
“We’ve sold out the whole of the bottom tier in the away end, I believe they’ve opened up the top tier, so I can’t wait to see the United fans there, singing loud and clear, and cheering us on to hopefully the three points and the top six.”
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