Michael Nelson is hoping to ask questions of Hibernian’s top-six rivals St Johnstone by bouncing back to form against the Saints in Saturday’s crucial Scottish Premiership clash at McDiarmid Park.
The Perth club are four points ahead of seventh-placed Hibs with a game in hand, and a home win would consign the struggling Easter Road side, who have won only one of their last 11 matches, to a bottom-half finish.
However, Hibs defender Nelson is looking to put pressure on Tommy Wright’s men, who lost at home to Ross County last week, by recording their second victory of the season in Perth following their 2-1 win last September.
“Everyone is aware of the importance of the game,” he said.
“But if we do put in a performance and get a win then it puts a little bit of pressure on St Johnstone, especially after they lost last week to Ross County.
“The situation would still be very much in their hands. But all we can do is affect this game, so we have to make sure that’s what we do and see how they react to it.
“It’s good that we have good memories from the last time we were up there. Hopefully, that victory we had will give the boys something positive to take to McDiarmid Park.
“That’s what all the lads are focusing on. Trying to be as positive as we can and taking it into the game.”
Nelson, like the rest of the Hibs players, felt the backlash from manager Terry Butcher after losing 3-1 to Partick Thistle last week.
The former Inverness and Motherwell boss will carry out his threat to start some youngsters against the Saints, although he has yet to decide how many.
And the 33-year-old former Scunthorpe, Kilmarnock and Bradford stopper was not surprised at Butcher’s reaction.
“He is not happy any time we get beat, but that was a very frustrating one on Saturday and he certainly let the players and the media know about it,” Nelson said.
“If you lose a game then you leave yourself open to being left out the team, it’s as simple as that.
“It’s one of those things you have to expect, regardless of whether the manager puts it in the press or not.
“It’s something you’re always going to be looking over your shoulder for.
“Sometimes you can win a game and still be looking over your shoulder, but it’s down to the manager who gets in the team and players have to react to it and accept it.”