St Johnstone keep up 100% post-split record with Celtic win

St Johnstone substitute Graham Cummins celebrates his winner against champions Celtic at McDiarmid Park last night. Picture: SNS
St Johnstone substitute Graham Cummins celebrates his winner against champions Celtic at McDiarmid Park last night. Picture: SNS
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St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright expressed his satisfaction at the perfect post-split form of his team which has provided a significant boost to the club’s summer transfer budget.

The Perth outfit maintained their 100 per cent record since the split at the culmination of the Premiership campaign as they beat champions Celtic 2-1 at McDiarmid Park to guarantee a fourth-place finish and prize money of just over £1.5 million.

Wright believes Saints can also end the season on a high note by recording a fifth straight win when they face Hearts at Tynecastle on Sunday in their final fixture.

“I’m delighted at the manner we have achieved four consecutive wins since the split,” said Wright. “The players have been outstanding all season but especially after the split.

“We wanted to finish as high as possible and be the best we can be. We have that desire and drive and have proved it once again this year. It is important financially too.

“To get five wins in a row would be some achievement for us. If we play the same way against Hearts as we did tonight, we have every opportunity to do it.”

Saints’ victory took a little of the gloss off Leigh Griffiths’ achievement in becoming the first Celtic player since Henrik Larsson in 2004 to score 40 goals in a season.

But the striker rightly savoured the moment regardless and was grateful to referee Willie Collum for ignoring the rule book and not issuing him with a booking for going into the crowd and pulling out his five-year-old son Rhys to join in his celebrations following the goal.

“I don’t normally thank refs but I will thank Willie this time,” smiled Griffiths. “If you speak to a ref nicely, he will let you away with one or two. He could have booked me for taking my wee boy out onto the ash track behind the goal but said he wasn’t going to.

“Getting to 40 goals has been on my mind. I’d spoken to Rhys during the warm-up and asked him how many I’d score tonight. He said ‘two’. I said I’d settle for one and he said ‘Ok’, so I wanted to share the moment with him.

“To get mentioned in the same breath as some of the players who have scored 40 goals in a season for Celtic is something I will cherish. My name will go down in the history books now.”

• Rangers will head to the United States for a pre-season training camp in July which will include a friendly against Charleston Battery who play in the third level of football in America.

The match will take place on 6 July, two days prior to the conclusion of the training camp in Charleston, South Carolina.