Former St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright looks set for a return to football after 18 months out of the game as Northern Ireland Under 21s manager.

Wright was axed by Kilmarnock in December 2021, after he was unable to save the club from being relegated following their play-off defeat to Dundee. They were in mid-table in the Championship when Killie sacked him.

But the former Newcastle keeper who guided St Johnstone to their first major trophy in 2014 when Saints won the Scottish Cup and was Premiership Manager of the Season in 2016, looks set to return to the game as boss of his country's Under 21s.

The post is currently vacant after John Schofield left earlier this year and Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill insisted upon an approach to Wright, who he played with at Newcastle and internationally.

Wright spent nine years with the Perth club, with seven of them as manager after stepping up in 2013 from No.2 to take over from Steve Lomas.

He guided them into a top six finish in his first four seasons in charge before resigning in May 2020.

Meanwhile, Steven MacLean has been handed a three-year contract as St Johnstone manager after leading the Perth side to safety.

The former Saints striker stepped up to replace Callum Davidson on a caretaker basis last month and has only lost one of his five cinch Premiership games in charge.

Steve Brown has rewarded him with an extended contract just before he steps down as chairman.

MacLean, whose side host Livingston in their final league game on Sunday, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be given this opportunity.

“I met with the chairman (on Friday) and we sorted things out very quickly. I thank him and the board for giving me this exciting opportunity.

“St Johnstone has a very special place in my heart. This club has been a massive part of my life and means so much to me.

“We have secured our SPFL Premiership status and that was my immediate goal.

“But the work for next season starts now and I will be giving my all to be a successful St Johnstone manager.”