Jim McIntyre has called on his Dundee side to “claw in” the sides above them as he works to engineer the Dark Blues’ great escape.
The Dens Park side go into Saturday’s all-Tayside tussle against St Johnstone bottom of the pile before heading into the winter break.
The Boxing Day point against Livingston after their 0-0 draw saw Jim’s side move to within two points of St Mirren with Hamilton a further two ahead.
Whatever happens, Jim knows they can’t afford to become more detached than they already are.
He said: “A win either way we’re not detached – if it goes bigger than that towards eight or 10 points then you are seeing a gap and you’d worry about that.
“You know roughly 35 points and upwards is going to be needed but the focus for us is to claw in the two teams above.
“There is a sizeable gap between ourselves and Motherwell at the moment, so I’m looking at St Mirren and Hamilton and to then go from there.”
The Dens gaffer was full of credit for the work done by Saturday’s opponent Tommy Wright in terms of summer recruitment – a success he’d like to enjoy himself when the winter transfer window opens.
He added: “Tommy’s recruitment in the summer was very good. Any manager lives or dies by his recruitment, no matter what level you are at.
“If you don’t recruit right you are going to be in bother.
“It’s so important – you won’t get them all right but you have to make sure you get most of them right.
“That’s the job for me. You might not get exactly what you are looking for but, for me, the type of players is so important, with a strong mentality.”
On the way out?
It is understood Jean Mendy and Lewis Spence have been told their futures lie elsewhere by the club.
Striker Marcus Haber, on loan at Falkirk, is unlikely to return to Dens Park as he looks set to return to his native Canada in the January window.