Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes has warned it could require a repeat of last season’s unbeaten post-split form to secure Euro qualification.
The Dons have manoeuvred into pole position for automatic qualification via the Premiership by leapfrogging rivals Kilmarnock into third spot with a 1-0 win at Rugby Park.
Despite that vital victory McInnes insists nothing has been settled in the race to secure European qualification.
Next up for the Reds is a trip to Rangers on Sunday as they gun for a fourth victory over the Ibrox club in Glasgow this season.
Last season Aberdeen were unbeaten in the five post-split fixtures and secured 11 points.
That run included a 1-0 win at treble-winning Celtic in the final game of the Premiership season to beat Rangers in the race to finish league runners-up.
McInnes believes the Dons’ race for Europe could go to the final game of the season again, at Hibs, and has demanded a similar return from the post-split.
He said: “Last season during the post-split games we needed big performances and wins to achieve our goal.
“It went right to the last minute at Celtic Park.
“We showed good form in the post-split last season and will have to do that again.
“In previous seasons (prior to last year) our post-split form maybe just tailed off.
“But that was because normally we had secured second spot and Europe by then and maybe we lost a bit of an edge.
“Certainly this season, similar to last season, there is work to be done to get that European spot and it will go all the way – I am pretty sure to the last game of the season again.”
In the post-split fixtures last year Aberdeen beat Kilmarnock, Hearts and Celtic and drew with Rangers and Hibs.
The same five teams will compete alongside the Dons in the top six again this season.
Although the Dons hold that third spot now, McInnes will take nothing for granted and refuses to discount the threat of clubs below.
He said: “Nothing was settled with the win at Kilmarnock although it was three very important points for us.
“We have still to play against another four good teams.
“That win (at Rugby Park) gives us a little advantage with four games to go.
“But no one is discounting anyone at this stage, certainly not at our end.
“Nothing has been decided and other teams have shown they can get results.”
Aberdeen face the final four games of the season with a number of experienced first-team regulars ruled out or as major injury doubts.
The Reds are sweating over the fitness of skipper Graeme Shinnie after the midfielder sustained an ankle injury at Kilmarnock.
McInnes admitted Shinnie’s ankle was a “mess” and that he was a doubt for the remaining games.
Winger Niall McGinn is ruled out for the season with an ankle injury.
Right-back Shaleum Logan has also been sidelined following ankle surgery in February and Gary Mackay-Steven has also been out with an ankle injury.
Midfielder Lewis Ferguson, 19, will return from suspension for the trip to Rangers.
McInnes is confident his young players can rise to the challenge.
McInnes said: “We’ve had to deal with being without big players for key games for a while now so we can’t be too hung up on who is available and who is missing.
“It’s another opportunity for our young players to step up as they have done all season.
“I’ve put together three or four different squads in my time here and the squad this year have shown great temperament in the bigger fixtures. Connor McLennan, Scott McKenna and Lewis Ferguson have become mainstays in the team and they have not been fazed by these big games.
“We’ll set ourselves up to give ourselves the best chance of winning the game.
“Any Aberdeen team should be hard working and have the confidence and ability to go and play in these big games.”