Despite occupying the so-called 'best of the rest' spot behind the Old Firm for most of the season, Hibernian’s hopes of finishing there have all but evaporated following a run of only two wins in their last 10 SPL games.
The dramatic collapse has allowed Dundee United to leapfrog them and open up an eight-point lead but Easter Road boss John Hughes does not believe this weekend's clash at New Douglas Park is make or break for his side.
"No I don't," he said, before acknowledging Hibs would then need to win nearly all their five post-split games to overhaul their rivals.
"Let's see if we can go and catch Dundee United.
"It's going to be a hard task to go and do that. But if we can get on a wee run then you never know what can happen."
Hughes insists even if finishing third proves beyond his side, they have no excuses for taking their foot off the pedal.
"We're playing for European football, so there's that motivation," said the 45-year-old, who admitted Hibs have underachieved in recent weeks.
"I'm really delighted with where we are but I'm wanting more.
"Looking back, we should've had more."
Hughes, whose side also crashed out of the Scottish Cup against Ross County last month, added: "I'm wanting it yesterday.
"I'm wanting that third spot, I'm wanting to win that Scottish Cup.
"Our benchmark right at this moment in time - certainly with the season they've had - is Dundee United.
"They're everything that I want.
"They're sitting in that third spot, they're in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup, they've got some fantastic footballers, good squad.
"We're after them and I don't think we're too far away.
"When the split happens, we just need to put our foot on the accelerator and get going.
"We just can't sit back and rest on our laurels, not if we want that European football."