St Johnstone: Signing younger players is better value for money, says manager Tommy Wright

Saints' manager Tommy Wright says his squad was 'ageing' and needed refreshed
Saints' manager Tommy Wright says his squad was 'ageing' and needed refreshed

St Johnstone will focus on developing young players "because they are cheaper" than more seasoned competitors, says manager Tommy Wright.

Steven MacLean and Alan Mannus, both 36, and Chris Millar, 35, were allowed to leave over the summer.

Former Celtic striker Tony Watt, 24, and winger Matty Kennedy, 23, were among the younger players recruited.

"There is no doubt the squad was ageing, and we were bringing young players through," Wright said.

Watt, Kennedy and 21-year-old full-back Jason Kerr have featured regularly for Saints at the start of the season, Wright's side losing just one of their opening four Scottish Premiership matches and progressing to the quarter-finals of the Scottish League Cup.

"My budget has increased but by having a younger squad, it has not had to go massively up and we have been able to bring in quality," the McDiarmid Park boss added.

"We wanted pace and quality at the top end of the pitch. To do that at a club our size you have to go with a lot more younger players because they are cheaper."

Saints finished eighth last season, their worst league performance since Wright took charge in 2013, but the Northern Irishman "wasn't too despondent" over the final standings.

"Eighth place in isolation is a great achievement for this club, but on the back of three fourth place finishes, isn't such a good season," he said.

"But we were still only one or two wins away from sneaking into the top six."

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