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Tommy Wright rewarded for handing Danny Swanson farewell St Johnstone appearance in win over Hearts

St Johnstone's Danny Swanson and Joe Shaughnessy (SNS Group / Ross Parker)
St Johnstone's Danny Swanson and Joe Shaughnessy (SNS Group / Ross Parker)

 

ST JOHNSTONE manager Tommy Wright revealed he almost denied Danny Swanson his farewell appearance but was rewarded for his change of heart as the Hibernian-bound midfielder set up the only goal against Hearts.

Wright was set to rest the former Hearts midfielder after feeling he had put in a major effort in Saturday’s victory over Partick Thistle, which sealed fourth place in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

But Swanson – who is suspended for Sunday’s visit of Rangers – was keen to play and his brilliant through-ball set up the lively Chris Kane to net in the 26th minute at McDiarmid Park.

Wright said: “I was toying with the idea of not playing him but I heard he wanted to walk out with his kid before the game, so I realised how much this club means to him. So we played him.

“Danny has been brilliant for me and he goes with my good wishes.”

The win took Saints to a record 58-point haul in the Premiership.

“It’s another little milestone for us which is pleasing,” Wright said. “We made changes but the ability to win a game is still there to be seen. We had many moments where we could have got a second goal.

“The goalkeeper has done well for us again, Alan (Mannus) has had another good night, and we defended well when we had to, but I thought we were excellent – especially first half in how we passed the ball.

“It’s another good victory and shows, without a doubt, that we are the fourth best team in the league.”

Hearts head coach Ian Cathro was unhappy with his side’s first-half display and they found a resolute St Johnstone defence in their way after the break.

“First half I thought we were comfortable, we became passive, lacked intensity, lacked real pressure, lacked real aggression,” Cathro said. “Second half had those things. I don’t feel in any way it’s a game we deserved to lose.”

Expanding on his first-half critique, he added: “We were passive defensively, needed more aggression across the middle of the pitch, getting closer to players quicker and making sure we don’t allow them to play against us. That was unacceptable.”