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50yrs a Saint

Tommy's weekly E-mail

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In my final email to you last season I said that I would update you in the summer and I am pleased to be able to write to you today.

 

The players return to training on Monday, but it’s not been a total break for them as each of them have a personalised programme of training to adhere to in order to help make sure they come back in good shape.

 

Since I last wrote, Paul Paton and Blair Alston have been added to the squad and both will give us extra quality and depth – I’m delighted to get both on board.  

 

The draw for the Betfred Cup has thrown up some interesting matches including an attractive but tough home game against Falkirk.  We open the campaign up at Elgin City and I know that will create some interest as we’ve not played up there competitively before.

 

It’s always exciting to see who you’ll play in the first league game but ultimately you know you will have to play all 11 teams at some point in the season anyway. The games last season against Aberdeen were all very exciting and I expect that from the opening game as well.
 

We have Celtic, Hearts, Aberdeen and Dundee at home twice and they will all be exciting games to watch and will attract a big crowd. The New Year’s Eve match against Dundee is also a good one to look forward to.

 

As you’ll be aware our Under 20s will take part in the revamped Challenge Cup competition.  It’s a new initiative and one thing you can’t say about the governing bodies is that they’re not trying new things.  Playing Turriff United in the first round will be a good experience for them and we will be hopeful of going through.

 

I hope you continue to enjoy your summer and I shall be in touch again nearer the start of the season.

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Even although our competitive season started a few weeks ago with the Betfred Cup ties, the first league game of the new season was always a game to look forward to and anticipate.  We knew Aberdeen would be a tough team to face in the opener and that proved to be the case.

I thought our back four and goalkeeper were outstanding yesterday, dealing with the high number of balls Aberdeen got into our box and as a unit they looked really solid.  Going forward, in all honesty, we were not as much of a threat as I would have liked and that was due to us not retaining the ball well enough and Aberdeen, like us, playing very well defensively.

It’s always important to get something ‘on the board’ so we take a point from the 0-0 draw which, overall, I am very happy with.

The games come thick and fast just now and on Wednesday we will have an intriguing Betfred Cup tie visit from Hearts.  Games against them last season were entertaining, sometimes feisty, affairs but hopefully we can progress to the next round.

We have one or two niggles after yesterday’s game, notably Tam Scobbie and Graham Cummins but we will assess them over the next couple of days and given them every chance of making it.

 

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We’ve recorded two excellent wins in the past week or so – results which have put us in a pleasing position in the league table.

 

The performance at Firhill against Partick Thistle was excellent.  We controlled the game for long spells and scored two great goals including something of a rarity – a Steven MacLean goal from outside the penalty box!

 

Saturday’s home match against Hearts brought another welcome three points although I would be the first to acknowledge that we can play much better than we did.  With that in mind, it speaks volumes for the boys that we were able to grind out the win.


Zander Clark has rightly earned praise for his man of the match performance but the rest of the team defended like their lives depended on it and that all contributed to the points staying in Perth.  Having said that, and whilst acknowledging Hearts had plenty of good possession and scoring opportunities, we had the same number of shots on target as they did and crucially got the all-important goal with lovely build-up play.

 

I know bookings for simulation incurred by Graham Cummins and Chris Kane were post-match talking points but having now had the opportunity to view them I think they were both hard done by.

 

We now have a great cup tie to look forward to on Thursday when we head for Pittodrie and it’s going to take another great performance if we want to reach our third League Cup semi-final in four years.   Hopefully, as many of you as possible will be able to make the trip to the north east to cheer the boys on.

 

Finally, it would remiss of me not to mention Dave Mackay. I’ve known for a few weeks that this was on the cards  and I made my feelings on him known in last week’s announcement but I would just like to reiterate here again that he will be badly missed on and off the pitch and I am delighted that he will not be a stranger around the place.

 

Thank you for your continued support.

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Tommy Wright
Manager, St Johnstone FC

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Dear David

That’s us now played eight games, five of which have been away from home and I feel that the players have got a great return of fourteen points.  Last season, it took us eleven games to get the same number of points, so we’ve had one of our best starts to a season for some time as we are often reminded that we are notoriously slow starters.

 

The away form has been excellent and it is never easy going up to Dingwall but I feel that on Saturday, particularly in the first half and in the closing stages of the second half, we played some really good football.  Our passing was crisp and our movement was good.  The only thing we were guilty of was only being one goal up at half-time.  

 

Ross County came at us at the start of the season half but we defended well and still looked a threat on the counter-attack and it was from one such counter-attack that we got an excellent second goal and I was so pleased for Chris Kane as he has had little luck in front of goal so far this season.


At 2-0 that finished the game off and we ran out comfortable winners.  

 

People suggest to me that the international break has come at a bad time but I never look at it  that way. We know these breaks are in the calendar and we work our plans around them.  There is an Under 20 match tonight and we will work those not involved in that hard in the early part of the week before a few days off.

 

Injury-wise, Joe Gormley felt a pain in his knee in the warm up and will be assessed, Tom Scobbie is making good progress and is able to run and do some ball work on grass.  Keith Watson had a little set back and is another couple of weeks away while Ally Gilchrist underwent a successful groin operation last week as we attempt to get him fully fit.

 

Finally, thank you for your continued support - particularly those who go to away games. 400 at Hamilton and 300 at Dingwall is a credit to the club.

   

Tommy Wright
Manager, St Johnstone FC

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Dear We Are Perth,

Saturday’s game against Kilmarnock can be summed up in one word: frustration.

 

It was certainly a missed opportunity to be in amongst a group of teams who are starting to open up a gap on the teams below them and we should have won to further cement our place in that current group.

 

We started the game really well, moved the ball quickly and got good deliveries into the box but unfortunately we just couldn’t get that first goal.  Disappointingly, I feel we then fell into trap of playing at a slow tempo, trying to play through Killie and not getting the ball wide often enough.  It is always difficult when a team comes and sits in so deep but the onus was on us to get the ball wide and we didn’t do that, trying instead to play through packed defence.

 

To compound matters we didn’t organise ourselves at a set play and lost a goal.  Players are given responsibilities at set pieces but these can change if an opponent unexpectedly goes into box and we ended up in a situation of having two players on our goalkeeper and only one defender helping.  We had one player spare in the box and he should have been in a position to stop the cross. Mistakes can happen but it proved costly as we could not get back in game.

 

So there was a lot of disappointment in the changing room after the game but it is important to reiterate that we have still made a really good start to the season.  The performance for sixty minutes deserved the three points but Killie did to us what we have done to other teams on many occasions.

 

I’ll have no problem picking the players up for the Tayside derby on Sunday and I look forward to your support for this big game.

 

Tommy Wright

P.S.  we've sorted our kick off tactics.

Edited by Dave H
Added in a P.S.

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Dear We Are Perth,

Saturday’s game against Kilmarnock can be summed up in one word: frustration.

 

It was certainly a missed opportunity to be in amongst a group of teams who are starting to open up a gap on the teams below them and we should have won to further cement our place in that current group.

 

We started the game really well, moved the ball quickly and got good deliveries into the box but unfortunately we just couldn’t get that first goal.  Disappointingly, I feel we then fell into trap of playing at a slow tempo, trying to play through Killie and not getting the ball wide often enough.  It is always difficult when a team comes and sits in so deep but the onus was on us to get the ball wide and we didn’t do that, trying instead to play through packed defence.

 

To compound matters we didn’t organise ourselves at a set play and lost a goal.  Players are given responsibilities at set pieces but these can change if an opponent unexpectedly goes into box and we ended up in a situation of having two players on our goalkeeper and only one defender helping.  We had one player spare in the box and he should have been in a position to stop the cross. Mistakes can happen but it proved costly as we could not get back in game.

 

So there was a lot of disappointment in the changing room after the game but it is important to reiterate that we have still made a really good start to the season.  The performance for sixty minutes deserved the three points but Killie did to us what we have done to other teams on many occasions.

 

I’ll have no problem picking the players up for the Tayside derby on Sunday and I look forward to your support for this big game.

 

Tommy Wright

P.S.  we've sorted our kick off tactics.

This man truly cares and loves St Johnstone 

that is excellent communication that has certainly improved since I lodged some concerns 

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