TOMMY WRIGHT’S extraordinary achievements at St Johnstone are poised to reach a new high as he closes in on a record season for the Perth club.

Wright has delivered European football for the fourth consecutive campaign following last Saturday’s victory over Partick Thistle and, of course, won the Scottish Cup in 2014.

One more victory will give the Perth club 58 points, their highest tally since the league was reconstructed in 1975.

It would also represent their best top-flight league season since the Second World War outside of Willie Ormond’s performance in 1970/71, when his side achieved19 wins and six draws – the equivalent to 63 points nowadays.

So it is a source of utter bewilderment to first-team coach Alex Cleland that the Northern Irishman has been overlooked in the search for Manager of the Year. The former Rangers defender finds it astonishing that Wright was not short-listed for the PFA Scotland awards and his disappointment is understandable.

Cleland said: “I think sometimes the more successful you become the more you become overlooked. If you look at what he has achieved by repeatedly finishing in the top six and qualifying for Europe, it is remarkable. Looking at his budget and what he has to work with compared to other managers in the league, he has done a fantastic job. So I was really surprised that he was not nominated for manager of the year.

“I don’t think Tommy as a manager and St Johnstone as a club get enough credit or recognition because we have been doing the same thing virtually every year. We have been successful repeatedly. People think of us as a small club with a small fan base. We’ve done it again by qualifying for Europe again and I think in later years people will look back at this period in St Johnstone’s history and realise what a great period it was. I think the players will look back with pride too that they were able to play in the Europa League and we feel the same way as coaches.

“You have to remember that Hearts were a fair distance ahead of us at one point but we have overhauled that and clinched the European place with a couple of games to spare.”

St Johnstone face Hearts tomorrow night having blown them out of the water in the race for Europe and then finish the campaign at home to Rangers on Sunday before a short break and an early June return to prepare for Europe once more.

Cleland, however, has no issue with Wright’s fellow countryman Brendan Rodgers being named top manager – and reckons his performance since taking over and rejuvenating Celtic has been and will continue to be good for the Scottish game.

While the gulf between Celtic and the rest has rendered the title race uncompetitive, Cleland feels the power of Celtic makes Scottish football an attraction for others.

The former Rangers defender said: “Make no mistake some of Celtic’s football has been great at times and they have players capable of that little bit of magic. If you’re a Celtic fan and you’re getting served that up every week, you’re delighted.

“As well as Derek McInnes has done at Aberdeen, Celtic are just so far ahead. “It’s going to take a real effort from all the teams next season but they don’t look like they are going to have any bad days and Brendan will want to strengthen what he already has.

“The main thing he has done is to get consistently high performances out of existing players. It’s so hard for the rest of us but it’s a challenge we all have to try to take up. The thing is you want a team like that in your league because it attracts better players.

“When I played at Ibrox, Walter Smith was able to attract better players because of the players he had at the time and it was the same with Celtic then, too. People outside of Scotland are talking about how well Celtic are playing and if they do well in Europe next season then it makes it better for everybody. It raises the profile of the Scottish game.”