There can be no denying that St Johnstone’s form heading into the Premiership opener at Celtic Park has been woeful.
Today there was yet another blow for Tommy Wright’s Betfred Cup strugglers. They were downed 2-1 by Premiership new boys Ross County. A Billy McKay double turned the game around at McDiarmid Park after a Scott Tanser penalty had Saints in front.
Even more concerning for Wright is that they were beaten 1-0 in Montrose on matchday one of the Betfred Cup groups too. It stretches a run of three consecutive defeats, with Saints also soundly beaten in Inverness by Caley Thistle in a friendly.
Since coming back to pre-season, Wright’s men have won just two of their opening seven matches. Only one of those sides has been of Premiership quality or above. Their victories came at Linfield and Greenock Morton. The other two slip-ups came in a 2-0 loss at Edinburgh City followed by a 1-1 draw in Glentoran.
St Johnstone form likely to be improved before Celtic trip
In fairness to Wright, he has an incredible ability to get his side up for big games. If there’s one thing St Johnstone have done under the Northern Irishman, it’s consistently rise unexpectedly to challenges that should prove too difficult for them.
They are in real danger of dropping out of the Betfred Cup early on. But even then, you would expect them to win their next two competitive fixtures against Brechin City and Forfar Athletic respectively. Two wins could help them, at the very least, get some momentum back ahead of their Parkhead trip.
As it stands, Celtic have a stuttering Saints side heading their way in just under two weeks’ time. It’s also a St Johnstone side who have only signed one outfield player this summer too. It will once again be a highly recognisable starting XI, although there is still time for Wright to make some additions between now and the contest. That addition is former Celtic youngster Wallace Duffy too.
Saints don’t look in great shape as it currently stands. Their performances have been woefully poor in pre-season, and their results look even worse on paper.
Sure, when the league campaign starts, there aren’t many more reliable managers than Tommy Wright in picking his players up. Expect them to be solid to break down at Parkhead with two banks of four and five.
But if you’re expecting a highly-confident and in-form Saints team to rock up? That doesn’t look like happening whatsoever.