Pressure all on Rosenborg, insists Tommy Wright
IT took just 90 minutes for recently installed St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright to break new ground at a club which had never before triumphed on its European travels.
The affable former international goalkeeper from Northern Ireland was regarded as a safe pair of hands by chairman Steve Brown when he was elevated from the assistant’s role to succeed Steve Lomas when his fellow countryman departed for Millwall.
Continuity was what Brown was seeking but, after celebrating an unprecedented success, and a result akin to the memorable home victory over a Hamburg side studded with World Cup winners more than 40 years ago at Muirton Park when Willie Ormond was in charge, Wright is already on the verge of legendary status in the Fair City.
Courtesy of Frazer Wright’s winner and a composed performance in Trondheim, Saints are 90 minutes away from a third round qualifier against Valletta of Malta or FC Minsk of Belarus.
Wright, who takes a team to Dundee today for a friendly with a derby tag, is adamant that no one will be checking out flight schedules or re-scheduling SPFL games against Hearts and Kilmarnock as they focus on Thursday’s return leg against the Norwegian league leaders.
But he insists the heat has been turned up on opponents whose fans have been fed a diet of Champions League and Europa League group stage action. Wright observed: “The pressure is all on them. They have to come at us. With us getting the away goal they really have to score twice. I’m sure that is how they will be looking at it.
“The pressure on them will be huge. I think the fact only 6,000 turned up for the game in Trondheim suggested their fans were waiting for the group stages and the nitty gritty to come round again before they turned up in numbers for European matches.
“I think that probably helped us because there wasn’t much of an atmosphere created by their fans. And our supporters were magnificent from start to finish.
“Rosenborg did put us under a little bit of pressure towards the end of the game and that should be a big enough reminder that there is still plenty of work to be done on Thursday when they come to Perth.
“We had a wee bad spell after the hour when we kept giving away possession and at the end they were going gung-ho looking for the equaliser throwing men forward with no real shape to it.
“There were a couple of shots flashing across the box and keeper Alan Mannus had a decent save or two but we coped well and didn’t feel we were in any real danger of conceding.
“There was enough from that game to give us even more confidence for the return leg.”
Twelve months ago Saints lost out to Turkish side Eskisehirspor as a 2-0 away defeat proved too much to peg back in Perth.
“I think the players who were involved in Turkey last year benefited from that experience. And the 90 minutes in Norway was another learning curve. They will be better players because of it,” said Wright.
“What pleased me more than anything was that the players went out against Rosenborg and played exactly the way we had wanted. We had prepared thoroughly and they stuck to the gameplan and the shape. We had told them we would create chance in Norway so they should take a lot of confidence from the way they performed going into the second leg.
“Also we will be another week down the line in terms of more training sessions and the game with Dundee.”