St Mirren boss Jim Goodwin admits they are facing a defining period in their season after slumping to the bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership.
Saints suffered a third consecutive defeat in midweek after following narrow losses against Hibernian and Aberdeen with a disappointing 3-0 home reverse against Motherwell.
They now face three of the four teams directly above them in the table – Hamilton, Livingston and St Johnstone, starting with a trip to Lanarkshire on Saturday.
And Goodwin admits their fate will be defined by what happens against those type of opponents.
The Irishman, who will be without centre-backs Kirk Broadfoot and Gary MacKenzie, said: "Saturday is a different kettle of fish. That's why it is so frustrating as a manager, because we played really well up at Aberdeen and were brilliant against Hibs last Tuesday, and we have absolutely nothing to show from those two games.
"We were just looking for a repeat performance against a very good Motherwell team.
"Motherwell are miles ahead of where we are at the moment, in terms of everything – recruitment, the way Stephen (Robinson) has them playing.
"They are a good model for us to look to because they are everything that I want my team to be in terms of the aggression they go about things with, making tackles, competing aerially, the energy levels and commitment and everything they have throughout their team is exactly where we need to be as a club.
"Unfortunately on Wednesday night we just weren't at it. I have never questioned the players' effort or commitment up till now and I am going to put it down to fatigue I think, and just a lack of legs. We looked as if we didn't have enough energy. The goals completely zapped the life out of one or two boys.
"We have three huge games coming up now, games against teams who are in and around us, and those games are going to be the ones we will be judged on. Not away against Aberdeen or games against Motherwell.
"This is a huge game, you go and win the game you take yourself off the bottom of the table."