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Wright's hard-working men will have no problem picking up tools again when champions call

Tommy Wright is on a high after signing a new three-year deal, hard on the heels of his side's excellent victory over Ross County in Dingwall at the weekend.

Tommy Wright is wondering why Celtic's opening game was waived
Tommy Wright is wondering why Celtic's opening game was waived

And while the St Johnstone manager admits bemusement that Celtic, tonight's opponents, had their opening league game put on hold while their ground was tidied-up after hosting the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, he says his players will be up for the challenge.

"I'm a bit puzzled why Celtic couldn't play an away game at the weekend. They'll be nice and fresh, whereas Aberdeen and ourselves had to play in Europe and then at the weekend. Everyone knew the situation with Celtic Park so I don't see why they couldn't have played Partick Thistle away from home. But that's nothing to do with us. Our boys are rested up and we're looking forward to the game.

"We won't approach the game against Celtic any differently because they've had a couple of defeats in Europe. It's always a difficult game against them. Their new manager has come in and it's always difficult because you have to get to know the players.

"I was lucky here because I was promoted from in-house so I already knew the lads, knew what they were capable of and knew them as individuals. That made it easier for me.

"Ronny's obviously a good manager; his record in Norway was very good and he's someone Celtic specifically targeted. I expect Celtic to win the league again this year because of the squad he's got but we've done okay against them the last few seasons and hopefully we'll be able to do it again."

Wright defended Celtic's position over the Legia Warsaw debacle. "If you play a suspended player it's a 3-0 win for the other team, that's the rules. Nobody can point the finger at Celtic for that. Looking at it from Legia's point of view it must seem harsh, but that's the rules of the competition. From Scottish football's point of view, we want a team in the Champions League. It's good for the SPFL in terms of profile and also financially. If they get through the tie against Maribor we all benefit from it."

Wright made four changes at Dingwall after a Europa League exit at the hands of Spartak Trnava days earlier. "I have enough scope to make changes if I need it," said the manager. "But I still feel we need two experienced players in the squad because there will be times we don't have everyone available like we do now. We've been lucky because youngsters Scott Brown and Liam Caddis have stepped up, and they are ahead of Chris Kane and Dylan Easton at this moment in time.

"I had no doubt after seeing Scott against Celtic late last season - he scored in a 3-3 draw - that he would be good enough. Liam has had more game time this season, he's getting more confidence and will play a big role for us."

The full-back Brian Easton should face Celtic after missing the win over Ross County with a foot injury while on-loan Yeovil striker Adam Morgan comes into the squad.

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