25 Feb St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright sets sights on seventh-placed Motherwell
St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright is looking up the Ladbrokes Premiership table after a 2-0 victory over Ross County alleviated fears they could be dragged into a relegation dogfight.
Murray Davidson’s first-half double earned Saints their first home win in five months and opened up a nine-point gap on the bottom side.
Saints are now closer to the top six than County, with a six-point deficit on Kilmarnock.
Wright had previously told his men to forget about top-six ambitions but he has seventh-placed Motherwell in his sights.
The Saints boss, whose team host Rangers on Tuesday, said: “We look at it that we are still only five points behind Motherwell with two games in hand so we’ll remain positive.
“We have always tried to remain positive, it’s for other people to be negative.”
Saints goalkeeper Alan Mannus was not troubled until the 89th minute and Wright was happy with his side’s defensive approach after following up their goalless draw at Celtic Park.
“The whole back four were solid but also the people in front of them,” he said. “Macca (Steven MacLean) worked his socks off. Defending starts from the front and we did that well.
“It’s a good three points and hopefully we can build on it. We are getting back to more what we are like defensively.
“I don’t think anyone has ripped us apart, it’s just that we have made silly individual errors this season and far too many of them.
“But there are enough games left and enough points on the board for us to continue to move up the table, and hopefully we will continue to do that.”
County failed to build on their victory at Dundee and subsequent draw with Hearts and looked a beaten team from the moment Davidson finished off an impressive move in the 29th minute.
Their day went from bad to worse when substitute Craig Curran received a second yellow card in the 84th minute after pushing MacLean during a melee.
The striker is now suspended for Saturday’s bottom-two clash with Partick Thistle and manager Owen Coyle will look into his offence.
“The St Johnstone players felt they had kicked the ball out for treatment and our players didn’t think that had happened,” Coyle said.
“I think that’s what the mix-up was. That of course leads to whatever it was.
“Craig wasn’t involved, the issue was with Marcus Fraser to begin with. I was at the side and my initial thing was to make sure there was no altercation between both teams, and we sorted that out very, very quickly.
“So I don’t know what he did but the referee seemed very convinced he did something. It’s something we will certainly look at.
“I think that’s the first red card we have had. You don’t want one at any time and it doesn’t help when you are chasing the game. It’s something we will address.”