St Johnstone V Hearts at McDiarmid Park : Match Preview

04 April 2017

Tommy Wright believes St Johnstone have nothing to lose in the race for fourth

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright believes the pressure is all on Hearts in the race for fourth place in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

Saints have moved ahead of Hearts in recent weeks and go into Wednesday night's meeting two points clear with eight games of the season left.

Although their achievement was overshadowed by team-mates Richard Foster and Danny Swanson being sent off for fighting each other in a 1-0 defeat by Hamilton, the Perth side clinched a top-six spot for the sixth consecutive season at the weekend, before Hearts lost 5-0 to Celtic.

And with a potential Europa League spot up for grabs, Wright believes his side now have nothing to lose.

"It's an important game, we want to bounce back," he said. "They are not on a great run but having watched them on Sunday, they started the game (well) first 20 minutes.

"It's that all-important first goal, Celtic got it and it sort of knocked the stuffing out of them a little bit. But what I saw in the first 20-25 minutes in particular, we know they've got a lot of good players but they seem to have a lot of cohesion about their team and a good tempo, but like a lot of teams against Celtic this season, when you don't get the first goal then Celtic have just too much quality for the rest of us.

"We expect a tough game. We have done extremely well against them over the last couple of seasons and there's no pressure on us.

"We have achieved top six, if we get fourth it will be incredible. They were probably looking to push on this year and probably getting at least third."

Hearts have won just once in eight matches but Wright feels Ian Cathro's side have the potential to improve.

"It's surprising with the squad they have, but I think it's always a risk when you bring in seven, eight, nine players during the window, particularly the January window," he said.

"Ian says they are still a work in progress but ultimately their run of form is not great. We have been able to overhaul a gap and get ahead of them but it is still all to play for.

"With the quality they have got in their squad, if they click they will certainly be favourites. But we have got ourselves in a good position. We will regroup and we will try and apply more pressure on them on Wednesday."

Hearts head coach Ian Cathro is in no mind to change his approach to get back on track for a European spot.

Cathro knows the result is all that matters in Perth.

But he said: "There's how you think you get those results, which is how you consider is the best way to win the game. The result is always the only thing that matters. What people have different views on is what's the best way of getting that result.

"So what we consider is the best way for us to get results will be the way that we try to play.

"There's nothing different in that - it's not a case of you play some games to play well and play nice, and other games you play to win. That's just the biggest lot of nonsense ever. We play every single game to go and win.

"The way that we choose to play the game is because of how we believe is the best way for us to win. They are no two separate things.

"If you're on a winning run and everything's good, okay now we can play differently, so we can play well and play nice and people can say nice things about us. That's just nonsense, absolute nonsense.

"What we want to do is to win. We want to do it in a way that allows us to grow as a team and become more consistent and perform at a higher level and to progress."