Tommy Wright takes reins at St Johnstone

ST JOHNSTONE manager Tommy Wright interrupted a sunshine break in Portugal to be officially paraded by the Perth club yesterday, along with assistant Callum Davidson. And he is determined to make his mark in the SPL – and fly the flag for goalkeepers in management roles.

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright (right) and assistant Callum Davidson face the media. Picture: SNS

Wright takes over from countryman Steve Lomas, who has departed for Millwall. The former Northern Ireland goalkeeper, who played in England for clubs including Newcastle and Manchester City, said: “When I finished my playing career I went back to the Irish League so to be standing here as manager of an SPL club 12 years down the line makes me really proud and excited.

“They used to think that you had to be an outfield player to be a manager but Dino Zoff won the World Cup with Italy. I look at my experience in the game. I’ve worked at all levels, which might be important for this club. I’ve been a youth development officer, I’ve managed part-time clubs, I’ve worked at Championship level in England at Norwich, I’ve worked at international level, I’ve had 18 months in the SPL and I’ve worked under strict financial budgets.

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“I’ve improved the contacts I have up here over the last 18 months and improved my knowledge of the game, so I think I’m well prepared for the job ahead.

“A friend of mine who was kit man at Norwich said ‘welcome to the mad world of Scottish football, there will never be a dull day’. I don’t think he’s been proved wrong, because there’s always something going on. There always seems to be a manger getting into trouble and something with referees.”

Wright admitted it was sad to see the financial crisis enveloping Hearts.

“Nobody wants to see what’s happened to Hearts and Rangers. It would be nice to have a season when it’s all about the football.”

But he stressed: “What I like about St Johnstone is that it’s a stable club run in the right way. You know we won’t overspend.

“Every manager wants more money and I’ll be no different. But I’ve built a relationship with the chairman and I understand where he’s coming from. He’ll give me the support he can within a budget and I think that’s only right.

“He knows I won’t be an easy touch for him. I’ll push him for players but it will be within the guidelines of what we can spend.

“We’re in a better position than we were last year. We’ve got 16 signed and we’ll look to add to that before Europe.

“I’d echo what Jackie McNamara at Dundee United said – we won’t be forced into panic buying. I’d be more than happy to get the squad up to 20.

Wright confirmed that defender David McCracken and striker Rowan Vine have left the club.

But French striker Gregory Tade is taking-up a year’s ­option and Irish midfielder Paddy Cregg has also been offered terms.

Touching on the Richie Brittain pre-contract controversy putting Saints at loggerheads with Ross County, he stressed: “I’m of the opinion that until I’m told otherwise he’ll be reporting for training on the 27th.

“We’ve sympathised with Richie’s problems but that’s no different to what somebody might be facing during a season.

“We’ve told him we’ll help him. If he refuses to come it won’t be me who decides what happens.”