St Johnstone: Tommy Wright hopes home crowd are pivotal

St Johnstone lost the first leg to Alashkert in Armenia 1-0
St Johnstone lost the first leg to Alashkert in Armenia 1-0

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright hopes a big home support will unsettle Europa League opponents Alashkert and help overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit.

The Armenian side visit Perth on Thursday with Wright looking for a much improved performance than in Yerevan.

"I'm expecting a big crowd, so it should be a good atmosphere," said Wright.

"I don't know how many of them have experienced that in the league they play in."

Lacklustre Saints were undone as Mihran Manasyan's second-half strike secured Alashkert a deserved victory on their European debut in soaring temperatures.

"We've recovered well and the players are raring to go," said Wright.

"The conditions did influence the game but I can't use that as an excuse. We didn't play as well we could of on the night.

"We didn't keep the ball well. Previous times in Europe away from home we've done that particularly well.

"They maybe had three or four chances and we had a couple, there wasn't really that much in it."

Should Wright's men progress they will face a trip to either Red Star Belgrade of Serbia or Kairat Almaty of Kazakhstan, however for now they are fully focused on turning around the first qualifying round tie.

"We usually play with a lot more intensity at home," added Wright.

St Johnstone played the first leg in high temperatures in Armenia
St Johnstone played the first leg in high temperatures in Armenia

"It's important that we've seen them now. We watched numerous videos before the first leg but they were all from last season. Now we have a better understanding of what they are all about.

"So, there are a lot of things in our favour, but we need to make sure that we do better individually. If we do that, I feel we'll give ourselves a chance. I'm sure we'll create the chances for the goals we need."

The hosts are unlikely to have new faces before Thursday's game, however Wright is running the rule over a number of players who are currently training with the club.

He revealed: "We've been looking for a left-sided player but with Murray (Davidson) out now, we may look at a central midfielder.

"Rhys McCabe and Jim McAlister are training with us. Liam Craig has been in as well but that's just as a favour.

"We'll have a look at them and make a decision."

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