Livingston boss David Hopkin has revealed he has had League One sides Peterhead, Ayr United and Stranraer all watched as the Lions slip closer to the relegation play-offs.
Ninth-placed Livi could face any one of those clubs in the Championship play-offs should they fail in their quest to overhaul nearest rivals Dumbarton who are five points better off with just three fixtures of the season remaining.
Tomorrow’s trip to Queen of the South signifies the start of a crucial seven days for Livi with champions Rangers and promotion-hopefuls Raith Rovers due to visit the Tony Macaroni Arena next Tuesday and Saturday.
Hopkin accepts that achieving safety remains a tall order but insists his players must give themselves a fighting chance.
“I’m not naive or silly. I know the situation we are in so we’ve already had the teams who we could meet in the play-offs watched,” the former Scotland internationalist explained.
“We’ve got a lot of other things going on just now but we’ve got to make sure we’re prepared so we know where we are. We’ve done a lot of work behind the scenes in preparation for the worst-case scenario.
“We are in a positive frame of mind. We know how big this week is going to be. If we had picked something up from the Hibs and Morton games then that might have made life that bit easier.
“But we’re still in there so it’s about picking up the points tomorrow and then hoping results go our way elsewhere.”
Livi ran out 4-1 winners on their last visit to Dumfries in October but, in the wake of this week’s departure of manager James Fowler, Hopkin expects a response from the home side.
“I think anybody that manages in the Championship will know how difficult it can be,” he said. “Results can go against you very quickly. Queens were up there earlier in the season challenging for fourth and a bad run of results have dropped them down the league very quickly.
“I don’t know what the expectations of the Queen of the South board are but I was surprised because I thought he’d done a good job.
“Every team in this league are still playing for something whether it be trying to get in the play-offs or players trying to get a new contract, it’s going to be very competitive these last few matches.
“We’ve just got to concentrate on ourselves and all our energy and focus is on picking up the three points tomorrow.”