Aberdeen have no room for error before the Premiership split if they are to keep alive the bid to finish third.
The Dons have turned a corner in recent weeks with levels of performance.
However, Derek McInnes and his Reds must ensure that corner does not lead down a blind alley in terms of results.
Sandwiched either side of a 1-0 win over Kilmarnock, the Reds impressed in spells in two 1-0 defeats at Celtic.
They deserved to leave Glasgow with at least a point on both occasions.
The bottom line, though, is the Reds still lost both games and at this stage of the season it is points, more than performances, that matter.
An improvement in performances is not enough unless it brings wins from now on. Grinding out results ugly is needed more than playing well, but ultimately losing – like has happened twice at Parkhead.
It is win-or-bust for Aberdeen in the two games before the top-six split.
They face bottom club Hamilton at Pittodrie on Saturday before a trip to Dundee United away on Saturday March 20.
Aberdeen need a maximum six points from those fixtures to keep the pressure on Hibernian.
The Easter Road club hold a four-point advantage, and a game in hand. That is not a unassailable lead, but with only seven games remaining it is certainly substantial.
The Edinburgh club are firmly in the driving seat.
Following a slump in form that yielded just 10 points from 36, the Dons are in the self-inflicted position of no longer having their destiny in their own hands.
However, Hibs have only taken 16 points from a possible 36, so although it will be a big ask it is not inconceivable they can be overtaken in third spot.
The post-split games have yet to be confirmed, but Hibs will be scheduled to come to Pittodrie in those fixtures.
Aberdeen must rack up the wins to ensure that fixture in the Granite City has the potential to be a shoot-out for that third-placed finish.
Aberdeen have the easier run to the split as Hibs have away games against recently-crowned League Cup winners St Johnstone, beaten finalists Livingston and Ross County.
If it does become a fight-out for third at Pittodrie after the split, Aberdeen must deliver.
The clash at Easter Road was billed as a battle for third and Aberdeen woefully under-performed in losing 2-0.
A factor that may be crucial in the bid for third is that Aberdeen have a free weekend after facing Hamilton, while HIbs play their game in hand at Ross County next Saturday.
Boss McInnes has been managing the training time of loan strikers Florian Kamberi and Callum Hendry as they arrived on loan with limited games at their parent clubs.
Prior to this week, there were three games in 10 days to pack in. The free weekend will give Kamberi and Hendry vital training time to work on their sharpness. That should have them up to speed and ready to make a scoring impact in the scrap for third.
Scottish football the winner from Saints’ League Cup triumph
St Johnstone lifting the League Cup brought a welcome end to the stale procession of Celtic lifting the major trophies.
That it was a cup final without Celtic and Rangers taking part made it all the more refreshing and compelling.
A Shaun Rooney header secured Saints’ 1-0 win against Livi, but Scottish football was also a winner.
The quadruple treble of Celtic was not good for Scottish football. Their dominance will have turned off many from the game. The challenge for all other teams is to ensure Rangers do not go on to dominate in a similar manner.