Raith Rovers must beat Arbroath on Saturday to give themselves any chance of winning the League One title.
It’s as simple as that for John McGlynn’s side, who have zero margin for error as they look to claw back a 13 point deficit to the runaway leaders with 13 games remaining.
Frustratingly, Rovers are back in the same position as before Christmas having failed to build on the win at Gayfield which, at the time, reduced the gap to 10 points.
Had Rovers managed to win their five league games since then, they would be going into Saturday’s showdown just three points behind the league leaders – a huge missed opportunity – however, with Dick Campbell’s now dropping points on a more regular basis, there is belief in the Rovers camp that a win on Saturday could spark a late title surge.
McGlynn said: “Time is running out with regards trying to narrow down the points advantage, but it would seem there may be slight cracks in Arbroath, and we have to test that on Saturday.
“All we can do is claw back three points and that’s all were focused on.
“We know it will take another massive effort, similar to the game up at Arbroath when put on a really good, battling performance.
“We’re going to need all the same attributes on Saturday but at the same time being able to play our football as well.”
In the head-to-head meetings this season Rovers have the edge with the draw at Stark’s Park earlier in the season followed up by the win at Gayfield in December.
“They haven’t beaten us and we want to keep that intact,” McGlynn said. “We want to win. We have to believe that we play them twice and if we get six points that would effectively halve the deficit and go a long way towards giving some light at end of tunnel.
“That’s what we have to cling to. It’s going to need everyone being at it, and our concentration levels have to be right on the button for 90 plus minutes.”
A draw would suit Arbroath but McGlynn does not expect them to sit back.
“There’s no doubt with us beating them up there they will want to come here and win,” he said. “Dick, Ian Campbell and John Young are all very proud people and they will not be happy with what happened at Gayfield the last time, so they will also be very much up for it.”
After taking just five points from their last five games, Raith also need the victory to keep ahead of Forfar Athletic, who are now level on points having played a game more, while East Fife are just two points further back.