Why St Johnstone deserve a Grade B for their season so far

Joel Sked breaks down the season thus far for every team in our series of Ladbrokes Premiership mid-term report cards.

Tommy Wright is once again taking the plaudits for a fine season. Picture: SNS
Tommy Wright is once again taking the plaudits for a fine season. Picture: SNS

The good

Once again Tommy Wright has the Saints punching above their weight. Early on it looked like they would be well clear of the relegation dog-fight but too far from the European spots. But St Johnstone have done what St Johnstone do, they’ve clawed their way in to a fight for fourth, pulling to within three points of Hearts with a game in hand.

The bad

The home form has been a disappointment, winning only three of 10 games so far in the league. The counter-attacking game plan suits the club away from McDiarmid Park, but still, too many points have been dropped in Perth when opponents should have to fight and scrape for a result.

Star pupil(s)

Danny Swanson is in the form and shape of his life. Given the trust of Tommy Wright he is the club’s key creator and leading goalscorer. A threat from distance, his technique and vision allows him to cut through a defence with a pass or blast one in from distance. Hard to defend against. Joe Shaughnessy continues to improve as a centre-back under Wright, while Murray Davidson has been a commanding presence in the centre of the park.

To improve

Simple. Do better against the bottom six. If they cut out daft defeats at home to Kilmarnock, Partick Thistle et al they’ll prove difficult for Hearts to shake. They have proven themselves as incredibly difficult opponents for Celtic, Rangers, Aberdeen and Hearts.

Grade B

Well placed for a sixth consecutive top-six finish. A return to Europe via the league would be one of Wright’s finest achievements.