Callum Davidson has praised the new year resolution that has seen St Johnstone's defenders become creatures of habit.
The Perth outfit registered their 16th clean sheet of the campaign as they eased to a 2-0 win over Clyde.
The victory – which tees up a Scottish Cup quarter-final clash in Glasgow against the winner of Sunday's Old Firm battle – means Davidson's team have also racked up nine shut-outs since the start of 2021.
And Davidson is delighted with how stingy his back line have become in recent weeks as they followed up their Betfred Cup triumph with clinching a top-six place.
He said: "From the turn of the year, we've hardly conceded any goals. We've been quite ruthless at the back.
"We've not conceded many chances, so it's pleasing. It's a good habit to get into and that all starts from the front. They all work extremely hard.
"I'm delighted to have booked our place in the quarter-finals.
"All season I've asked for that kind of performance, especially in these kind of games, and they've given me it.
"I thought in the last 10, 15 minutes we probably came off it a bit, allowed them to come back into the game. We were sloppy in certain things.
"I don't want to be overly critical, but for me we should have been a couple of goals up.
"All credit to Clyde – they've had some week, playing that amount of games. They had a younger team out, full of energy, and they kept going right to the end."
The Bully Wee were playing their 10th game in the space of 22 days, with boss Danny Lennon forced to leave out a string of regulars – including former Scotland hitman David Goodwillie – as his League One part-timers prepare for a vital relegation scrap against Forfar on Tuesday night.
And the former St Mirren manager admitted his team were no match for Saints.
"Fair play to St Johnstone, they are the best team we've faced this year in terms of how you press without the ball," he said. "You can see why they've had so much success this season.
"Their energy was fantastic and that is something we have to take on board ourselves and make use of it over some big games coming up in the next few weeks."