Twice already they have come close, in reaching the semi-finals of both the Scottish and League Cups, although the former was the postponed conclusion to last term’s competition. But, as they embark on this season’s version of the tournament, away to Queen of the South tomorrow night, they are seeking to piece together a run that will take them beyond the last four and earn them silverware and a prime spot in the club’s history books.
“It’s been our driver this season,” admitted manager Jack Ross of the push for a top-three finish. “And why it has been so tiring for the group because we’ve pushed them a lot to finish in that position and then we wanted to win a cup.”
Securing third place for the first time in 16 years would be one thing but adding the trophy that had, until 2016, eluded them for well over a century, would elevate the season to one of the best in the club’s history, given they have only twice before finished in the top three of the top tier in the same season they made it to at least the semi-final stage in both cups. That was in 1946/47 and 1950/51.
The last time they finished as high in the league and won silverware was in 1972/73 when they won the League Cup but they went out in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup that year.
“I think you’ve seen how hard we’ve pushed to win a cup in the two competitions I’ve been involved in in my time here.
“We’ve fallen short and it’s been sore. We’ve taken some criticism for it and I think it was maybe misconstrued that we were satisfied with that but we weren’t, we want to go and win a cup.
“What we’ve done so far is show that we can be there or thereabouts. It’s definitely a competition we can go far in and feel that we can go and win it.
“Yes, it’s going to be busy but it's not unmanageable in any way. I don’t think it’s something that would deflect our attention away from league games.”