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Wright puts faith in fan power to propel club into the next round

Tommy Wright, the St Johnstone manager, has invited supporters to get packing, ahead of the second leg of the club's Europa League second round qualifying round, writes Derek Miller.

The remark seemed a little gauche at first since the Perth side hold only a narrow advantage over Lucerne as a result of the 1-1 draw they earned in Switzerland. Yet the Northern Irishman was not referring to the prospect of setting off into the next phase - where St Johnstone would face either FC Zestafoni of Georgia or Slovakia's Spartak Trnava - rather he was reminding fans to cram themselves into McDiarmid Park on Thursday.

Lucerne have not been subdued and Wright is wary of the Swiss team squeezing ahead into the next round of the competition. He will seek every advantage for his side that he can, including a capacity crowd in Perth for the second leg.

That is not a fanciful notion either. St Johnstone's success in the Scottish Cup last season - a triumph which qualified them a shot at Europe - has ignited a feel-good factor in Perth, while around 8500 supporters turned up to watch the club play Minsk at home in a Europa League qualifier last season.

"We'd love it if there was a full house for the Lucerne home match," said Wright, whose side earned an away goal on Thursday through Steven MacLean. "We got 8500 fans against Minsk last season so there's no reason why we can't fill the place with over 10,000. When you look at the support we took to Celtic Park in May for the final then the fans are there.

"The supporters across in Switzerland were magnificent and they created a great atmosphere at the game. Hopefully we can get McDiarmid Park jumping next week for the home game."

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