31 Oct Wright pleased with start
Tommy Wright insists he is satisfied with St Johnstone’s start to the season, despite his side missing out on the opportunity to go second in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
The Perth outfit would have been clear in the runners-up spot had they managed a victory over Partick Thistle and at one point during a see-saw Saturday afternoon even a draw would have sufficed.
However, Saints finished a dramatic 90 minutes back in fifth after succumbing to a late sucker punch from Thistle captain Abdul Osman.
The midfielder pounced on a David Amoo cutback in time added on to lash in the winner after Kris Doolan’s first-half opener for the Jags had been cancelled out within a minute by Steven MacLean’s equaliser.
It was a cruel finish to a week in which St Johnstone had defeated Tayside rivals Dundee and earned a creditable point with a midweek draw at Rangers.
Wright was critical of his team’s defending against Thistle but unmoved by talk of passing up the chance to tuck themselves in behind clear leaders Celtic.
He said: “That doesn’t bother me. We’re sitting on 18 points, which is a good start.
“Going into second would have meant nothing to us, I would have been more concerned about having 21 points rather than 18.
“We know this league is tight, we keep saying this league is tight, everybody can beat anybody.
“But there are ways of losing games and we shouldn’t have lost it the way we did.”
Doolan showed his predatory instincts in the 17th minute when he latched on to Danny Devine’s headed knock-down from a Sean Welsh free-kick to bundle over the line from close range.
But, within seconds of the restart, Saints were back level.
Danny Swanson threaded a ball in to David Wotherspoon whose brilliant turn mesmerised Adam Barton before he unselfishly laid the ball back for MacLean to power in from 12 yards.
Thistle looked the likelier to find a winner in the second half, with home goalkeeper Zander Clark having to produce excellent stops from Ade Azeez and Ryan Edwards.
But, just as both teams appeared to have settled for a point, Saints midfielder Liam Craig was guilty of a heavy touch in his own box before allowing Amoo to turn him and race to the by-line.
The substitute’s pull-back was fired in emphatically by Osman to make it seven points from a possible nine for Thistle in the space of a week.
Firhill manager Alan Archibald reserved special praise for his skipper, saying: “We’ve encouraged him to get further forward.
“We’ve got three defenders there, with Adam Barton in the middle of the three, so he’s not tied down as much as when he’s a sitter. It gives him that licence to get forward.
“He set one up on Wednesday night doing that and we’re encouraging him every day.
“And he was in the right place at the right time, so we’re delighted with it.”