Peterhead boss Jim McInally today insisted their upcoming final clash with Rangers is driving their great form.
The Blue Toon won 4-1 away at Stenhousemuir to extend their unbeaten run in League One to 17 games and tighten their grip on second place.
The North-east side are set to meet the Gers in the Challenge Cup final at Hampden Park next month.
“I don’t have any doubt that is what is inspiring them,” McInally said of their final date against the Old Firm side.
“Over the past few weeks I have heard the Hibernian manager and Ross County manager talking about how they have taken their eye off the ball by being in the League Cup final.
“But we have gone the other way, we have kicked on and used it as inspiration to win games.
“Now with seven games to go we have nearly cemented ourselves in the play-offs which is fantastic.
“We have two games this week and if we can win another few points we would just be about there.
“It would be a phenomenal achievement to secure our play-off place with games to go.
“If would be nice to secure our place before we play Rangers.”
Peterhead took the lead after just 13 minutes at Ochilview Park when Jamie Stevenson found the bottom corner with a left-footed effort.
Shane Sutherland then put them 3-0 up with a goal either side of half-time, with the second coming from the penalty spot after goalie Colin McCabe had fouled Leighton McIntosh.
McIntosh made it 4-0 shortly afterwards, although Carlos Martinez did pull one back for the home side late on.
The Blue Toon’s result was all the more impressive considering they were missing top goalscorer Rory McAllister and influential midfielder Simon Ferry, who were both serving one-game bans.
“I am delighted, especially with us missing Rory McAllister and Simon Ferry as they are big players for us,” McInally added.
“But we showed that we have more to us than that, which is pleasing.
“It just goes to show that it is a real team effort at the moment and to go away and score four is fantastic.
“There is a real confidence about us at the moment.”
Peterhead are set to host Stranraer at Balmoor tomorrow night as they look to extend their unbeaten record to 18 games, which would mean they had gone half of a season without suffering a loss.
“To go half a season undefeated would be an incredible feat,” McInally said.
“But even if we don’t get to 18 games it is still a fantastic feat.
“I am so proud of the players and what they have done.”
However, they will be without goalscorer Jamie Stevenson for the clash, who came off against Stenhousemuir with a tight hamstring.
McInally said: “He didn’t pull it, but he felt it tightening up so we took him off early.
“I won’t take any chances with him against Stranraer, especially with Rory McAllister and Simon Ferry coming back in.”