The Wright stuff: Tommy likes Saints’ spirit but first-half show leaves him cold

St Johnstone boss feels frustration after poor first-half display.

By Press Association Published: 10 August 2019 - 4.37pm

UK

Football

Scotland

Tommy Wright praised St Johnstone’s character – but not their performance – after they produced a stirring second-half comeback to rescue a 2-2 draw at home to Livingston.

The McDiarmid Park side were thrashed 7-0 by champions Celtic on the opening weekend of the Ladbrokes Premiership season and found themselves two goals down at half-time against the Lions.

However, second-half strikes from Matty Kennedy and substitute Callum Hendry cancelled out efforts from Scott Pittman and Steven Lawless to leave both teams with a point apiece.

Lyndon Dykes could have snatched victory for the visitors in the last
minute, only for Zander Clark to save his poorly-hit penalty.

Wright said: “I am pleased to have come back from 2-0 down and we showed a lot of character but I am disappointed overall with the performance. I can’t hide from that fact.

“With the ability we have in the squad and in the team, we were poor in the first half and had no belief.

“There were too many people passing the buck and taking the easy option to go back all the time.

“We said to them at half-time that it wasn’t about ability but about character and they went out and showed that in abundance.

“We got a wee break. They [Livingston] probably made a wee mistake and they won’t be happy with our first goal but it gets us back in it and all of a sudden we are energised, people are playing on the front foot and we are looking to do things properly.

“But it shouldn’t take that. There is enough ability in the squad to give themselves that spark.

“I am happy but there is still a lot of work to do and as a group we know that.”

Meanwhile, Livingston manager Gary Holt admitted the result was an education for his team after they let their two-goal lead to slip.

A short backpass from Kyle Jacobs allowed St Johnstone to pull their first goal back and the Lions boss is convinced they should have followed up last weekend’s goalless draw with Motherwell with all three points.

He said: “Probably like last week I thought it was an entertaining game of football.

“Whereas I thought we could have won it last week, I think we should have won it today.

“You need to be ultra-professional, especially when you’re 2-0 up. I thought the game was dead at that point and we were hitting them on the break.

“But if you give teams a goal in the game, the crowd lifts, they get a lift and suddenly you’re a wee bit all over the place.

“It’s part of football, it’s part of learning for them. When you’re 2-0 up and cruising, you have to be clinical, you have to be professional and play percentage football and not take risks for unnecessary reasons.”