Tommy Wright’s St Johnstone suffered yet another humiliating defeat yesterday, as they geared up for their trip to Parkhead in poor form.
St Johnstone went into yesterday’s match at Forfar having already been knocked out of the Betfred Cup. Indeed, Saints had lost two of their previous three matches in the group stages. Their only win was their previous game against Brechin City, with a 4-0 rout at McDiarmid Park seemingly putting Saints back on the right path.
But yesterday, goals from former Premiership players Callum Tapping and Ross Forbes were enough to down Saints. Wright had made five changes to his side from the Brechin win, and hammered his players afterward on Saints TV.
“When you’re a young player and you’re given opportunities, you’ve got to come in and stamp your authority on the game. The senior players can have off days and quite a few of them didn’t play well today either, but over a season, I know what they give me.
“I think it sums up our campaign – disastrous – and obviously the buck stops with me. But the players have got to take responsibility for their performances, particularly the ones put in against Montrose and Forfar.
“I think at times our fans would be scratching their head thinking which side is the Premiership side and which is the League One side.”
Tommy Wright’s St Johnstone will be a changed team at Parkhead
You would expect some of the senior stars to return at Parkhead such as Zander Clark, Murray Davidson, and Ricky Foster respectively. But Saints weren’t as youthful as Wright is perhaps making them out to be.
Elliot Parish, Jason Kerr, new signing Madis Vihmann, Scott Tanser, Liam Craig, Matthew Kennedy, and Danny Swanson all started. The level of their performances heading into the Celtic clash this Saturday is a huge concern for them.
Wright has generally managed to set his side up to be frustrating against us in the past, of course. He knows how to get under our skin, particularly at Celtic Park. He often sets up with his two banks of four and five to park the bus. With the lack of confidence flowing through Saints at the moment, they likely won’t try anything different this weekend either.
Form hasn’t improved all summer
You would’ve thought half-way through Saints’ abysmal Betfred Cup campaign that their form would’ve changed by the end of it. Two easy-looking ties against lower league opposition should’ve been straightforward for them. But now they have a heck of a job trying to get themselves prepared for a huge step-up in quality this Saturday.
Celtic, of course, won’t be preparing for anything but Saints’ best this weekend. Their starting line-up will be familiar to last season, as Wright has managed to hold onto most of his top stars.
A replacement for Tony Watt hasn’t been found yet of course. Throughout the Betfred Cup, they’ve been going with young Callum Hendry or back-up man Chris Kane. Michael O’Halloran remains available, but he isn’t a natural striker. Whether they sort that out for Saturday is worth keeping an eye on.
But for now, Saints are struggling, and they’ll now definitely arrive at Parkhead wounded. Therefore, it’s down to the Hoops to do a professional job and ensure there’s no shock on the cards.