We went into the post split matches with six still to play as we had a game in hand against Rangers at Ibrox. However, our lead over United and Hibs in fourth and fifth place was just two points while Aberdeen were eight behind us and looking for snookers. Essentially, our position this time already looks stronger than four years ago.
United and Hibs had aided our cause by drawing with each other at Tannadice in mid-April but in our first game post split, we could have dropped as low as fifth. Had we lost to United while Hibs won at Pittodrie that would have been the case but instead we drew - and arguably should have won - while Aberdeen did us a favour in the north.
We then lost to Celtic at home but again had others to thank as Rangers held Hibs to a draw at Easter Road and Aberdeen defeated Dundee United at Pittodrie. The Dons were suddenly within three points of us, albeit having played more games, but our closer rivals failing to skip us when they had the chance gave us a real boost.
Losing at Rangers was unsurprising but with three games remaining we were in a brilliant position despite being on a run where we had taken just one point from four matches. Before that we had defeated Hibs and Celtic but these wins had also been preceded by a five game run when we scored only once and claimed just one point. It is safe to say that we were beginning to get nervous with the prize in sight - sound familiar!?
The decisive weekend starting with United losing 3-2 at Rangers, hindered by more than a little dubious refereeing, and we knew a win over Aberdeen combined with Hibs losing at Celtic on the Sunday would guarantee third and a place in Europe. The performance against the Dons was great in places but ultimately just good enough and no more - they were denied a goal which may have crossed the line and struck the bar in the last minute in search of an equaliser. Celtic then did the business for us at Parkhead and the celebrations could begin.
After crossing the line, we settled down to draw with Rangers and defeat Hibs on the final day. Ultimately we finished third by a substantial seven points with a grand total of sixty but getting to that final winning margin was touch and go. What can we take from this? Luck elsewhere with results will do wonders for us - Hearts coming back into contention is probably a boost and we also want the Old Firm to hit their stride again. A player hitting form would be a massive help - Porter hadn't scored in eight matches before finishing with five goals in six so Messrs Ojamaa, Murphy and Higdon, we're looking at you here.
But most of all we should remember our fate is still in our own hands. Even if things go wrong against Celtic with others closing in on us, home wins against St Johnstone and Dundee United will carry us home - nerves will be inevitable in the coming weeks but panic is not needed. Not yet, anyway...