TOMMY Wright believes Scotland’s stock in Europe is rising – partly due to our managers and players adapting their game to face continental opposition.
The St Johnstone manager has masterminded wins over Rosenborg and now Swiss side Luzern – clubs with budgets up to 20 times more than the Perth club, who can take one step closer to the Europa League play-off round with a favourable result in Thursday’s home tie with Slovakian side Spartak Trnava.
While Motherwell crashed out to Icelandic part-timers Stjarnan, Saints saw off Luzern in a penalty shoot-out and Aberdeen defeated Groningen in the Netherlands.
Wright said: “Aberdeen got a fantastic result – it was brilliant from Derek [McInnes] and his team. Going to Holland and winning has given Scottish football another boost and I’d like to think the league is getting more confident about itself.
“There has been a different approach to it in the last couple of years. Nobody has been moaning about playing teams in mid-season or any of that stuff.
“I hate all that because you just have to use it to your advantage – convince yourself they’ll be knackered mid-season. And teams with bigger budgets – use that as well, because there’s more pressure on teams who can spend a right few quid on players.
“We all know that teams from abroad, at this moment in time, are going to be more technical than us. But we have our qualities as well and I don’t think there will be too many teams who can match the attitude of the likes of Aberdeen and ourselves.
“Derek’s team have a really tough game in the next round because Real Sociedad will be a top side. But he’s a positive manager and will believe his team can win it. I hope they do and we can keep doing it for Scottish football. It’s important we get the co-efficient of the country up. It’s bound to have improved last season and now this year.
“Our scout Ewan Peacock was over watching Spartak Trnava. He’ll do up a very detailed report and we can look at their two league games so far. That will give us an idea of their likely line-up.
“By the time the match comes around, we’ll know the set plays, the formation and their strengths and weaknesses.
“Ewan is very thorough with his reports and is a big part of our backroom staff. I have a great staff around me, everyone puts the work in. Ewan did some coaching at Aberdeen and works as a sports lecturer in Dundee.
“Ewan scouts for us and does match analysis on the opposition, he goes to loads of games and gives us as much information as we need. We have come through a tough tie against a quality side and we’re expecting Trnava to be good as well.”