Tommy Wright believes possession is key to Celtic challenge

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright has called for his team to keep the ball better as they prepare for their latest major challenge against Celtic.

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright. Pic: SNS

Saints have suffered consecutive defeats against Rangers, Celtic and league leaders Hearts after taking a point off last season’s runners-up, Aberdeen.

The difficult run continues against the champions at McDiarmid Park today less than two weeks after Celtic needed a late Leigh Griffiths strike to claim a Betfred Cup win in Perth.

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Wright said: “The problem is they have the majority of the possession and the amount of possession that you have against them obviously is less and that limits the number of opportunities you have.

“Plus you work so hard to win it back. That’s one thing we’ve tried to work on this week, ball retention, because in the last three games we’ve given the ball away too cheaply. And against the top teams you get punished more, and that’s what has happened to us, particularly in the last three games.

“You have to keep the ball better to give yourselves opportunities at the other end of the pitch. So hopefully we can do that.”

While accepting the difficulty of their recent fixtures, Wright has been looking for more from his team.

“Most people had already written us off going into these fixtures and we haven’t picked up the points,” he said. “I think we have fallen short a little bit in terms of the performances needed to get results against the better sides.

“At Hearts it was a little bit short, against Celtic a little bit short, Rangers maybe more so because we gave them far too many opportunities and were far too open against them. But it’s the same old, we have got to get the balance right between making it difficult and being a real, real threat. Hopefully we can do that.”