Kilmarnock 1-2 St Johnstone: Boss Tommy Wright hails O'Halloran impact

By Kenny CrawfordBBC Sport Scotland

Manager Tommy Wright reckons Michael O'Halloran has already scored a goal-of-the-season contender.

O'Halloran returned to Saints on loan from Rangers this week and with his side drawing 1-1 at Kilmarnock he came off the bench to net a brilliant solo effort.

"It was a tremendous goal," Wright told BBC Scotland.

"Even at this early stage of the season, it must be right up there for goal of the season."

O'Halloran endured a frustrating time at Ibrox and Wright was delighted to see him back in form as the Perth men made the perfect start to the Premiership season.

"It was probably written in the stars that Michael was going to come on and get a winner for us," Wright added.

Michael O'Halloran scores against Kilmarnock
O'Halloran was overjoyed to mark his return to Saints with the winner

St Johnstone took an early lead at Rugby Park and it was was another excellent goal, with David Wotherspoon cutting in and curling the ball into the top corner.

Kris Boyd equalised after the break with a fine free-kick and then forced a great stop from Alan Mannus, but Killie could not capitalise on a period of pressure and eventually paid the price.

"We played David Wotherspoon a bit higher up in a 4-2-3-1 system today and he's very good in that role," Wright said.

"He finds space and likes to drive at people. He's finished it well too and gave the goalkeeper no chance.

"We didn't think we were going to get the result we did because Kilmarnock were in the ascendancy at that stage.

"Allan Mannus made a great save to keep us in the game and it would have been quite easy just to crumble, but we didn't."

Wright has this week been linked with the vacant head coach role at Hearts but the Saints boss was quick to play it down.

"I'm just surprised that my players don't get linked with more moves as well," he said. "It's only speculation and I'm fully committed to St Johnstone."

It was a disappointing result for Kilmarnock but manager Lee McCulloch was able to take some positives.

Manager reaction - McCulloch & Wright

"St Johnstone are a top-six team and they were more streetwise than us, buying fouls and the way they played which was very effective, so I've no complaints there," he said.

"I was happy with how we played but it was just two sloppy goals from our point of view.

"We had the momentum in the second half. Lee Erwin had a good chance and Kris Boyd hit the crossbar. All in all I'm disappointed with the result but performance-wise, not too bad."

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