St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright: Smaller clubs 'get trampled on'

By Richard WilsonBBC Scotland
St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright speaks to the media at Hampden Park, flanked by the League Cup
Wright's side are fifth in the Scottish Premiership, but he believes Championship contenders Hibs are favourites
Scottish League Cup semi-final: Hibernian v St Johnston
Venue: Tynecastle Stadium, Edinburgh Date: Saturday, 30 January Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Sport website

Tommy Wright believes St Johnstone are "another example of small clubs getting the rough end of the stick" from Scottish football authorities.

Saints were angered that extra tickets for the Scottish League Cup semi-final were allocated to Hibernian fans.

Hibs had already received around 11,500 tickets for the clash at Tynecastle, with Saints allocated 3,400.

Wright was also annoyed that the SPFL website carried a mock-up picture of Michael O'Halloran in a Rangers strip.

But he will use the club's sense of grievance as a motivation for Saturday's semi-final.

'When you're down the ladder, you tend to get trampled on'

Wright insists other clubs would not be treated the same way as St Johnstone, although he maintains O'Halloran will play in the semi-final despite Rangers' interest.

"I'm very confident," he said of the forward. "There have been no further bids from Rangers, so he's still our player.

Michael O'Halloran controls the ball for St Johnstone against Motherwell
Rangers have had two bids rejected for O'Halloran, but he remains with Saints for the semi-final

"We're really looking forward to the semi-final. It gives smaller clubs like ourselves an opportunity for glory.

"It doesn't faze us, the fact that our fans are outnumbered. It would have been nice if more were there, but that hasn't happened.

"It's unfortunate that when a promise is made [for extra tickets to be allocated to St Johnstone] it's not kept. That shouldn't have happened.

"It would be quite good if somebody said, 'Sorry, a mistake was made'. People might respect you a bit more.

"It's something we're getting used to. We know our place. We're well down the pecking order and we're getting adept at proving people wrong on the pitch.

"We will use every means that we can to motivate the players. When you're down the ladder a bit, you tend to get trampled on."

Hibs 'won't under-estimate Saints'

Wright believes Championship side Hibs are the favourites for the semi-final, given their resources and the size of their support.

Hibs are challenging for the title with Rangers, and also still in the Scottish Cup, but their manager Alan Stubbs plays down talk of a potential treble.

"We're happy to still be competing in three competitions," Stubbs says. "We'll see where it takes us.

"Saints are a very well organised and experienced side, with quality in the right areas. We won't be underestimating them.

"We need to win. It's never nice to get to the latter stages of any cup and lose. What you feel at that time is something you don't want to experience again.

"It won't necessarily be the best team that goes through, that's the nature of semi-finals. You can get there and freeze. We need to make sure Saturday is not one of those days."

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