Tommy Wright seeks fans’ backing to beat Alashkert

TOMMY Wright has urged St Johnstone fans to come out and help his team overturn their Europa League deficit against Armenian side Alashkert.

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright. Picture: SNS
St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright. Picture: SNS

Saints went down 1-0 in the first leg of the first qualifying round in intense heat in Armenian capital Yerevan on Thursday.

Wright felt his side lacked urgency until they went behind on the hour mark to a “soft goal” but thought they were hampered by Murray Davidson’s injury problems.

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The midfielder went off for a lengthy spell of treatment for a head wound early in the game before suffering suspected cruciate ligament damage, which eventually forced him off before the break.

But Wright - who was also without the injured Frazer Wright, Steven Anderson and Chris Millar, believes his team can make amends in Perth next Thursday.

The St Johnstone manager told the club’s audioboom channel: “Overall we are disappointed with the way we played but the main thing has to be emphasised - the game is very much alive.

“It’s only 1-0 and we have a great opportunity because I think we will be better at McDiarmid.

“I know all of the press and even some of the fans thought it would be a cake walk but there’s no easy matches in world football now, absolutely none.

“Anyone thinking we were going to come over and win this tie easily, they were wrong. They kept the ball really well but I do feel the start of the game gave them impetus when we were down to 10 men. That’s not an excuse, it’s a fact, it didn’t help us going down to 10 men for six or seven minutes.

“But 1-0 keeps the tie alive. I imagine people that were thinking we were going to be two or three up will now come to the game and we can get a big crowd that will get behind us. Get out in as many numbers as you can and support the team, which I think they will do. But we are going to have to play better.”

Saints could face an even longer journey to meet their second opponents if they get through, after Kairat Almaty stunned Red Star Belgrade in Serbia.

Kairat won 2-0 after the former European champions got a man sent off inside three minutes, leaving Saints facing the possibility of an 8,000-mile round trip to Kazakhstan.