St Johnstone: Manager Tommy Wright takes positives from Rangers link

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright
Tommy Wright is one of a number of names linked with the vacant position at Ibrox

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright has labelled talk of him being the next Rangers boss "pure speculation".

Wright has been linked with the vacant post in the wake of Mark Warburton's departure from Ibrox on Friday.

"I take it as a compliment to be linked with a club of that size and that history," Wright told BBC Scotland.

"I also take it as a compliment that journalists and the media in Scotland recognise the job that I've done over the last three or four seasons."

Since Wright succeeded Steve Lomas at McDiarmid Park in 2013, Saints have enjoyed Premiership finishes of sixth, fourth and fourth over the last three seasons.

He also guided them to their first major trophy in 2014 when the Perth men lifted the Scottish Cup.

Wright, along with Alex McLeish, Billy Davies and Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes have featured in many lists as potential contenders for the vacant role at Rangers.

Tommy Wright guided St Johnstone to Scottish Cup glory in 2014
Tommy Wright guided St Johnstone to Scottish Cup glory in 2014

"I'm humbled by it a bit but it is pure speculation and there's nothing concrete in anything," said 53-year-old Wright.

"Derek McInnes will tell you the same thing - managers can do nothing about speculation.

"It's nice to be mentioned as a possible manager of Rangers but I'm totally focused on trying to get three points and doing the best I can for St Johnstone.

"I was shocked on Friday night when somebody texted me with the news [about Warburton leaving Rangers].

"I always got on well with him and Davie Weir when we played against each other so it's disappointing to see a manger losing his job."

St Johnstone striker Steven MacLean is not surprised in the slightest that Wright has been quoted for Ibrox hotseat, but remains hopeful his manager will go nowhere.

"Obviously he'd be a contender because he's done a fantastic job," MacLean told BBC Scotland. "Every job that comes up I think he will be a contender because he's done such a good job here.

"As players we just think it's a compliment to him and probably to the players as well, because we've been doing well for him. We'll just be hoping that he stays here."

Former Rangers manager Alex McLeish has been linked with a return to Ibrox
Former Rangers manager Alex McLeish has been linked with a return to Ibrox

A 1-0 Scottish Cup defeat by Partick Thistle on Saturday has left Wright focused on fulfilling St Johnstone's primary target of another top six league finish.

Saints are currently fifth, three points behind Hearts and nine behind Rangers and Aberdeen. The Perth side are nine points ahead of sixth-placed Kilmarnock.

"We're up against it in terms of the teams above us," added Wright, whose side travel to play Ross County on Saturday.

"But we've still got a lot to play for. We still believe we can put pressure on Hearts."

Wright did what he calls "solid business" in tying up Steven MacLean, Joe Shaughnessy, David Wotherspoon and Ricky Foster on extended contracts during the transfer window and he also signed defender Clive Smith on loan from Preston.

Hearts, in comparison, signed nine new players in January.

"I spin a positive and look at it from the other point of view," Wright said. "Maybe not all [the Hearts] signings will work."

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