Tommy Wright: manager happy to lead St Johnstone into new season

Steve Brown and Tommy Wright
Chairman Steve Brown and Tommy Wright celebrate after winning the Scottish Cup final with a 2-0 triumph over Dundee United

Tommy Wright is ready for a new season in charge of St Johnstone despite his chairman fearing he would leave.

The Saints boss had been linked with Rangers and Aberdeen in recent months.

And the Perth club's chairman, Steve Brown, has spoken of his surprise that no other club has come in for Wright.

"I think he's worried about me coming into the last two years of my contract, that he's not going to get any compensation for me and that would panic him a bit," joked Wright, 53.

"I'm happy here. It is nice that you are linked with other jobs and so-called bigger clubs because that really means people realise the job you're doing here.

"That's the most important thing for me. I'm looking forward to this season, playing in Europe and doing well for St Johnstone."

As it turned out, Pedro Caixinha took over from Mark Warburton at Ibrox and Derek McInnes has chosen to remain at Pittodrie, despite having discussions about the Sunderland vacancy, leaving Wright in charge at McDiarmid Park.

In his four years at St Johnstone, and on a modest budget, he has guided them to the Scottish Cup, in 2014, and secured top-six finishes every season in the Premiership.

'Do the job to the best of your ability'

Asked if he was surprised that his record had not led to approaches from other clubs, Wright told BBC Scotland: "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't, but it's not something that keeps me awake at night.

"It's not something that, if I see someone else getting a job, puts me in a bad mood. It's just the way it is and all I can do is keep doing my job here.

"I'm quite happy for the chairman to come and extend my contract at St Johnstone if he wants, but by the look of his comments he'd rather sell me and get a few quid in.

"I just have a simple way of looking at things - do the job to the best of your ability, do it well and whatever will happen will happen."

Tommy Wright and Pedro Caixinha
Tommy Wright will be in the St Johnstone technical area once again next season, having reportedly been of interest to Rangers before they appointed Pedro Caixinha (right) as their new manager

Wright has been preparing his squad at Inverclyde Sports Centre in Largs for another crack at the Europa League, their reward for finishing fourth last term.

Having lost Danny Swanson to newly promoted Hibernian and now defender Tam Scobbie to Scottish Championship club Dundee United, Wright is looking to strengthen his squad.

He's in the process of clinching a deal to replace Swanson in time for the European signing deadline but the Scobbie departure has been a bit of a shock and it comes at a time when fellow defender Brian Easton is being treated for a groin problem.

"There is a risk Brian may miss Europe and that certainly leaves us short in terms of a left-back," said the Northern Irishman.

"I wanted Thomas {Scobbie} re-signed. I know he was more than happy to stay, but something's happened that it's fallen through so I've got to deal with that.

"It's part of management, you don't always get what you want and now we've got to move on and do the best for the club. I'm now putting all my efforts in to get a left-back to be cover for losing Thomas."

The Swanson-Foster bust-up

Wright drew praise for his handling of the infamous New Douglas Park brawl between Swanson and team-mate Richard Foster as they left the pitch at half-time in the match with Hamilton.

But the manager says that incident on 1 April was one of the toughest tests of his managerial career.

"I didn't see it and still haven't seen it because there's no footage of it, which is a miracle these days," he said.

"Immediately after the game, when I'm hearing what's allegedly happened, there was one thought in my head: that the two of them can go, they're out, they're sacked.

Richard Foster and Danny Swanson
Richard Foster and Danny Swanson were on-lookers in the 3-0 win over Inverness CT at the Caledonian Stadium, one week after their brawl on the pitch at Hamilton

"But then it was time for calm heads and leadership from the club and myself. The lads very quickly helped the situation by admitting they were wrong, they were remorseful.

"So come the Saturday night they definitely weren't going to be sacked, but the chairman and I felt that for the image of the club we'd deal with this as severely and as quickly as we could (with a fine and reprimand).

"We were honest with the players, in terms of how we felt they had let not only themselves down, but the club and Scottish football as a whole.

"The timing of it could have derailed our season. We actually lost the game 1-0, losing a goal in the 91st minute after doing brilliantly with nine men and that was gut-wrenching for the players."

Wright feels that by beating Hearts with a weakened squad and then Inverness in Saints' next two games, it showed the benefit of "having good people and a good squad".

On Monday, St Johnstone will find out who they will face in the first qualifying round of the Europa League.

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