Michael O'Halloran 'better' on return from Rangers to St Johnstone - Tommy Wright

St Johnstone's Richard Foster, David Wotherspoon and Michael O'Halloran celebrate
Michael O'Halloran (right) scored twice against Motherwell

Michael O'Halloran has returned to St Johnstone from Rangers an improved player, according to the Perth side's manager, Tommy Wright.

The 26-year-old Scottish forward has scored three goals in three games since arriving at McDiarmid Park on loan.

"Michael has come back and I think he is even better," said Wright after a O'Halloran double helped Saints to a 4-1 Premiership win over Motherwell.

"To score three goals already is an incredible start for him."

O'Halloran, who joined St Johnstone in 2014 after leaving Bolton Wanderers, was sold to Rangers 18 months ago for £500,000 after 16 goals in 90 appearances for Wright's side.

Nearly half of his 37 outings for the Ibrox club came off the bench, he only found the net three times and he fell out of favour after Pedro Caixinha took over in March.

But Wright had no doubts that O'Halloran would, because of his familiarity with the set-up at McDiarmid Park, shine again if he chose Perth instead of rival offers in England.

"That is one of the reasons I signed Michael," said the Northern Irishman.

"There were maybe other options in England, but there is always a question mark.

"The relationship I have with him and he has with the players and fans here meant it was a no-brainer."

St Johnstone striker Callum Hendry
Callum Hendry, signed from Blackburn Rovers, made his St Johnstone debut

O'Halloran missed out on a hat-trick after having a late penalty saved by stand-in goalkeeper Russell Griffiths, whose side ended the game with eight men.

"He will be disappointed with the penalty because he is a perfectionist," said Wright.

"It would have been nice to get a hat-trick, but now we know if it is 0-0 he won't be taking them."

The win means St Johnstone are early Premiership leaders after two games, but Wright is still seeking improvements - and searching for another striker after sending Chris Kane to Queen of the South on loan and despite handing a debut off the bench to summer recruit Callum Hendry against Well.

"It was an excellent way to bounce back from the Betfred Cup defeat to Partick Thistle," he added.

"I'm not 100% happy with the performance because I thought we were too deep at times.

"We gave up too much territory, but it's a good win and an important one."

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