Tommy Wright has urged his St Johnstone side to finish as the “best of the rest” as they prepare for their final Ladbrokes Premiership game before the split at Kilmarnock.
The Saints boss was pleased with the way his side responded to a 3-0 defeat by Motherwell last weekend by beating bottom side Dundee 2-0 at McDiarmid Park on Wednesday night.
The Perth side finished eighth last season and are currently one place better off with six fixtures remaining.
Unable to finish any higher as the league splits after this weekend, Wright wants his players to hold on to that position.
“I asked them the other night to go out there and play with a smile on their faces,” the Northern Irishman told St Johnstone’s official website.
“I asked for energy and high tempo and for them to get the ball forward quickly. We were positive in our play and I think when we play like that we’re at our best.
“It’s really important for the players not to let this season drift away.
“Some of them are playing for contracts and there are others who have been waiting for their chance to show what they can do.
“Players like Callum Hendry have come in and he’ll be wanting to do well so he can keep his place in the side.
“Everybody wants to finish seventh and if we do it’s an improvement on last year.
“We want to finish strongly and make sure we keep ourselves above Motherwell and Livingston.
“Finishing seventh is important, not only to be best of the rest but also for the financial reward that comes with finishing higher up the league table.”
Kilmarnock are sitting in third place with hopes of Europe.
Saints lost 2-0 against Steve Clarke’s side on the opening day in Ayrshire before a goalless draw at McDiarmid Park in November.
Wright said: “It’s going to be a difficult game tomorrow against a good Kilmarnock side.
“They play a simple but effective style of football. They don’t overcomplicate things.
“They’re having a great season and Steve’s done an excellent job once again.
“They’re strong at home and very difficult to beat but we can take confidence from the Dundee win and we’ll be ready to go again looking for a win.”