St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright feels the pressure is all on Rangers for Wednesday’s Ibrox encounter despite describing his team’s weekend first-half performance as the worst of his tenure.
But Wright warned his players not to be the team that the Light Blues find their range against.
Saints missed the chance to move three points behind Rangers in the Ladbrokes Premiership when they lost 2-0 at home to Kilmarnock, following a first 45 minutes which Wright branded “diabolical”.
But they have another opportunity to cut the gap as Rangers bid to avoid a third consecutive defeat under caretaker manager Graeme Murty.
“The pressure is on Rangers because they are expected to be challenging for second,” said Wright, who confirmed at the weekend that he had not received any approach from the Ibrox club over their managerial vacancy.
“We are doing great to be only six points behind them. So the pressure is all on Rangers: they are at home, they have had a few bad results, their fans will be demanding a response.
“And I think that will make it a difficult game for us.
“The one thing Rangers will have is possession. They have created a lot of chances, they haven’t maybe taken those chances, and that’s the one aspect of their game that has let them down this season, they have admitted that themselves.
“We have got to make sure we are right and limit them to very few opportunities, because the worry for us is they all of a sudden start taking those chances. That would cause us a problem.”
Saints have drawn twice against Rangers this season after knocking them out of the League Cup last term.
When asked whether they had found a way to play against the Govan side, Wright said: “Listen, we have a good way of playing against most teams.
“But I do feel it’s a different game, they have a different person in charge.
“It’s a totally different game because it’s a totally different set of circumstances. They are on a run of poor results, we have come off the back of a poor result and a poor performance.
“So I don’t think past performances and results will come into it.”
Wright has little doubt that his players will respond well to Saturday’s blow.
“We got a reaction in the second half, it wasn’t enough to get us back in the game, but ultimately we didn’t do well enough over 90 minutes and the two goals summed up our performance because the two goals were shocking,” he said.
“And that doesn’t change when you see them back, too many individual errors in both goals.
“It wasn’t good enough and the players know themselves it wasn’t good enough. But it’s a blip and a bad blip, but you have got to take it in context.
“We are still having a very good season and we will respond to it, I know they will.”