Jim Goodwin knows top-six aspirations are outside Aberdeen’s control but hopes to keep them alive at bottom side Dundee on Saturday.
With two cinch Premiership fixtures remaining before the split, the Dons are in 10th place with 35 points, four behind Hibernian and Livingston, who are fifth and sixth respectively.
The 3-1 win over Hibs before the international break was Goodwin’s first as boss of the Granite City club and he is now looking for victories at Dundee and at home to Ross County to make the top half.
The former St Mirren boss said: “I know every single outcome that needs to happen.
“I have been doing all the permutations, but it is outwith our control, that is the frustrating part of it, but we have to make sure we win the game.
“A draw is no use. We have to approach the game in a real positive mindset, albeit we know it is not going to be easy, it is not going to be straightforward.
“Dundee are fighting for their lives. It is a massive game for both clubs and it is going to be a very difficult afternoon.
“In the previous two league fixtures, both teams have won one each, so we certainly won’t be underestimating Dundee.
“They are a good side. I have never managed against Mark McGhee before, I am looking forward to that. He is a good experienced manager.
“I thought his team were excellent against Rangers in the last league game, very well organised, structurally sound and I would expect more of the same on Saturday.
“It is going to be very difficult to break them down and get clear-cut opportunities and they are very dangerous on the break with pace in the team with (Paul) McMullen and Zak Rudden up top and Niall McGinn is a player who has got real quality who all the lads here will know plenty about.”
Goodwin revealed Matty Kennedy’s back issue, which will keep him out again after missing the last two matches, is a source of frustration.
“It is very frustrating for Matty,” said the Irishman, who is also likely to be without Dylan McGeouch who has a slight niggle, while Adam Montgomery’s hamstring injury means he is likely to remain out for another three or four weeks.
“Matty was fit and available when I came in and he knows I think the world of him.
“He is a player I tried to get on a couple of occasions when I was at St Mirren.
“This on-going injury that he has has been a huge frustration for him and for me and that’s something that we need to make sure we get right in the next couple of weeks and give Matty an opportunity to hopefully play some games before the end of the season and be fit, fresh and healthy going into pre-season.”