Tommy Wright has told his St Johnstone players to forget the prospect of cup glory to continue in their quest for a top-six finish in the Scottish Premiership.
The Perth club were drawn on Sunday to face Aberdeen in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals next month, with Dundee United, whom Saints face in the league at Tannadice on Wednesday night, set to face the winners of the Albion Rovers versus Rangers replay.
Saints were beaten 4-0 by the Dons in the Scottish League Cup semi-final at Tynecastle at the end of January and inevitably there will be talk of revenge in the coming week as the McDiarmid Park side get another chance to win the first major trophy in the club’s history.
However, Wright is focused only on remaining in the top half of the table.
His side are in sixth place, nine points behind Inverness, who have played a game less, and two points ahead of Hibernian, who have played a game more.
“No matter who came out of the hat it would have been a tough draw and we just have to deal with that when it comes around,” the Northern Irishman told Press Association Sport.
“But I haven’t given it much thought other than we can do better against Aberdeen.
“Our focus is on the league and that is all I will concentrate on until that comes around.
“We must cement that top-six place and it is getting tough.
“So we just cannot have any thoughts about the cup. Our only focus is league games and trying to get in the top-six.
“One or two wins for us will make a big difference. We have to try to pick up as many points as possible at this stage of the season.
“The next game is the most important one. Hopefully we will go to Dundee United and get something.”
Saints lost 4-0 at Tannadice last August before beating United 3-0 at McDiarmid Park in December.
However, Wright is aware that Jackie McNamara’s side, sitting in fourth place, are back on form, unbeaten in six games and full of confidence after qualifying for the William Hill Scottish Cup semis on Sunday with a 5-0 thrashing of Inverness at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium.
He said: “It is going to be a difficult game but we know if we go about it in the right manner we can get a result.
“They have a lot of quality players and if they perform on the day then that can cause you problems.
“They allow their front four a bit of interaction and movement and they are quite fluid but on the other hand, we have enough players in our squad to hurt teams as well.
“If we can get two wins, with the advantage we have over Hibs, it makes it even more difficult for them so every win is vital.”