Defender Jason Thomson hopes Hearts' quest to finish third in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League will be back on track at Inverness Saturday.
Hearts were 15 points clear as the best of the rest behind title-chasing Celtic and Rangers, but Dundee United have been in hot pursuit and have reduced the deficit to eight points with six games remaining. While Hearts have just one win from their last six games, manager Jim Jefferies was quick to point out they have lost only two of those games.
Thomson, who would happily settle for a less-attractive performance and three points on Saturday as Hearts bid to cement third position, said: "It's in our own hands, third place. It's ours to chuck away. Hopefully we'll do it. We want a performance as well, but if we can win 1-0 in a scrappy game we'd take that just to get the points and secure third place."
Hearts played some scintillating football earlier this season which led some to suggest they could challenge the Old Firm. The team have a host of injury concerns. Thomson's campaign too was punctuated by niggling injuries, including hamstring problems.
"It's been frustrating when I've not been playing," the 23-year-old added.
Thomson made his first appearance since October in the April 3 Edinburgh derby when he came off the bench in a defensive reshuffle following the sending-off of captain Marius Zaliukas.
Zaliukas is available again for Saturday's match, but Jefferies is yet to decide whether his skipper will return to the starting line-up as he is again banned for next week's match with Motherwell.
Thomson played right-back in last week's 0-0 draw with the Steelmen, acquitting himself well. With Eggert Jonsson (facial injury) and Darren Barr (hernia) and Lee Wallace (ankle) all troubled by injury of late, Thomson hopes to stake his claim for a regular place.
"When you're going in and just playing the odd game it's hard," he added. "When you get in the team you just need to try and do your best."
Thomson, who has been with Hearts since July 2003 and has a year remaining on his current contract, plans to talk to Jefferies at the end of the campaign to find out his future. He said: "I'll need to speak to the gaffer at the end of the season and see what his plans are."