St Johnstone: Grass to stay at McDiarmid Park - Tommy Wright

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright
Tommy Wright's preference is to play football on grass

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright does not think converting McDiarmid Park to an artificial surface is imminent.

The Scottish Premiership club's chairman, Steve Brown, was quoted as saying that "it's something we're thinking about".

But Wright said: "I see grass being very much at St Johnstone for the next few years.

"I can't see it in the near future. We have players who can't play on it, or who couldn't play on it regularly."

Artificial pitches were once more a talking point last week after Rangers blamed Kilmarnock's surface for a long-term injury to striker Martyn Waghorn.

A PFA Scotland survey of 700 players also revealed that 73% would rather play on a "deteriorating grass pitch" than an artificial one.

Wright is "very much in the grass camp", not least because he is unable to field Steven MacLean on artificial surfaces following medical advice after the striker suffered knee problems.

St Johnstone striker Steven MacLean celebrates
St Johnstone do not play striker Steven MacLean on artificial surfaces because of medical advice

MacLean signed a one-year contract extension with the McDiarmid Park club last month.

However, Kilmarnock and Hamilton Academical have both rejected suggestions that their pitches cause more injuries than grass and it is known that two more Premiership clubs are considering installing artificial surfaces.

"My thoughts haven't changed," said Wright responding to his own chairman's remarks. "He has said there has been problems for grass pitches this season because of the weather - not just ours.

"We have had a freakish winter with the amount of rain.

"As a chairman, he has to look at every possibility.

"And you have to be mindful that the chairman said it was something that could be considered.

"At no stage did he say he is putting the pitch in and I think his first preference would be a hybrid pitch."

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