STAR striker Jason Scotland claims Swansea City have learnt the hard way that their cup heroics count for nothing in the league.
And, speaking from painful experience, Scotland is well aware they can ill afford to rest on their laurels.
Roberto Martinez’s men have already found out what happens when cup glory spills into the league campaign.
September’s much-heralded win over bitter rivals Cardiff in the Carling Cup was followed by a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Reading four days later.
Scotland admits Swansea were suffering from a heavy cup hangover that day and won’t make the same mistake again.
“We remember what happened after we beat Cardiff in the Carling Cup,” he said.
“It took us 20 minutes to get started in the next game.
“It was too late then because we were 3-0 down by half-time. So, while I don’t know what the gaffer will do, if it is the same team out there, we don’t want that to happen again. We have learned a lesson.
“We are looking to get into the top six, so it’s an important game for us and we will be raring to go.”
As well as the motivation to avoid history repeating itself, Scotland believes the Liberty Stadium’s feel-good factor could play a big part tonight.
The Swans are now undefeated in 12 games and, with their latest victory providing a huge Premiership scalp, confidence is sky-high.
With eight goals in the last eight games, the Trinidad and Tobago international has played a pivotal role in that run.
But, with the back five conceding just one goal in the last six games and the midfield dominating the majority of opponents, he was quick to point out that every department is playing its part in Swansea’s sparkling form.
“People will be banging down the gaffer’s door looking to play,” he said.
“But that’s good and the manager will be happy about that. He will probably change things around because it was a very tough game at Portsmouth.
“But we have a decent squad and the guys will come in and do a job.
“It’s great to have everybody in form. The likes of (Andrea) Orlandi and Gorka (Pintado) have been doing well and everybody it trying to play their part which is good for the team.”
As for the wave of confidence engulfing the Liberty, he continued: “It was a great result against Portsmouth. Not just because we won, but because we competed with a top Premiership team and the cup holders.
“We played great football and it was a convincing win. It was a big statement for us to make.
“It was a big stage for everyone because no-one had played against a Premiership team before. We wanted to see what stage we were at and everyone did really well.”
Scotland was not the only one purring at the confidence levels in the Swans camp. Martinez was also delighted to see the winning mentality had returned to his talented squad after their recent run of eight consecutive draws.
Some managers might be worried that, after such a big result, complacency might creep in.
But Martinez insists he isn’t the slightest bit concerned that will be the case with the Swans.
The Spaniard has worked tirelessly to cultivate a culture in which there is always room for improvement.
And, having raised the bar against Portsmouth, he has challenged his players to meet those standards again tonight.
“I don’t think it will be hard to bring the boys back down to earth,” he said.
“We have got a level-headed dressing room and a very focused group of players.They know the standards in Portsmouth have to be repeated game after game, especially in the league.
“The confidence levels are very high in the squad. But there is a thin line between being overconfident and just level-headed.
“Our boys need to be themselves. But I have no doubts that will be the case because our dressing room has been through a lot.
“They have shown they know how to approach every single game in the right way.”
Martinez was also quick to warn his players they will definitely need the right approach if they are to avoid defeat tonight.
Preston are flying high in the play-off positions and have defeated numerous promotion rivals in recent weeks.
The Swans boss genuinely believes Preston will be in the play-off mix at the end of the season. And, claiming the Lilywhites have hit peak form, he knows Swansea face another stern examination at the Liberty.
“We know Preston are going to be a big threat and they are in best form of their season right now,” he said.
“They weren’t in the cup and they will be fresh. We will have to be at our best if we want to get anything out of the game. They are ahead of us in the league and enjoying a really good season.”