Missing out on the top six will not be a failure for St Johnstone - Tommy Wright

Liam Craig (right) scores a penalty against Aberdeen
St Johnstone play Aberdeen on Sunday, who they defeated twice last season

Manager Tommy Wright says St Johnstone once again have ambitions of a top six spot but realises competition will be fierce this season.

The Perth club have finished in the top half of the league in each of the past five campaigns.

Saints open their Premiership campaign at home to Aberdeen on Sunday.

"If we were to finish seventh and miss out on the top six I wouldn't see that as a failure for our club," Wright told BBC Scotland.

"Probably our fans expectations get higher and higher each season but we don't really put any demands on the players.

"We want to finish top six if we can and we think we know that over the course of the season we can do that, but we certainly don't say at this stage we will finish top six."

Wright feels the promotion of Rangers, who St Johnstone defeated 3-1 in last season's League Cup, will stiffen competition at the top end of the table.

Rangers 1-3 St Johnstone
St Johnstone won at Ibrox, Tynecastle and Pittodrie last season

The Saints boss thinks Rangers will add quality to the league and that Mark Warburton's side could put in a title challenge to champions Celtic.

"If you look at the players they have signed, they have improved the squad in depth," said the Northern Irishman.

"They have a stronger squad than what they had last season. I think with the squad they have assembled they could mount a challenge."

Saints beat Aberdeen twice last season with a 5-1 win at Pittodrie and a 3-0 victory the last time the two faced each other in April.

Wright says this weekend's match, along with their next few games, means they will have to be at their best from the first whistle.

"We have a difficult start to the season in terms of who we are playing," he said. "We have the top three teams in the opening few weeks.

"First up Aberdeen then Hearts in the Cup, Celtic in two weeks with Motherwell a top six side next Saturday. It's a great start for us playing some of the top teams."

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