St Johnstone will respond to Rangers challenge

By Brian McLauchlinBBC Scotland
St Johnstone's Murray Davidson (right) celebrates against Rangers
St Johnstone knocked Rangers out of the League Cup in September

St Johnstone will increase their player budget next season in anticipation of a tougher challenge with Rangers having been promoted to the Premiership.

Rangers have already secured the Championship title, with chairman Dave King promising more investment.

Saints manager Tommy Wright said: "I've already spoken with the chairman and he has said there will be more investment in the team.

"I think he recognises that the league has got tougher."

St Johnstone have secured a top-six finish for the fifth successive season despite having one of the Premiership's smallest budgets.

"We won't be throwing cash about, but we have stayed around about the same budget for the last three seasons," said Wright.

"That has worked, but the league has got stronger.

"I think there will be more money now around the clubs with Rangers coming up and possibly Hibs.

"I think this summer there will be a feel-good factor about the league again."

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright and Celtic's Ronny Deila
St Johnstone beat Celtic 1-0 in Glasgow in March 2015

On Friday, St Johnstone host second-top Aberdeen, who will be hoping to put further pressure on Celtic manager Ronny Deila by narrowing the gap at the top of the table to five points.

However, Wright does not believe the announcement that Deila will leave at the end of the season will impact on the ability of his players to maintain their title challenge.

"I don't think it will make much difference because they are playing for a massive club," he said.

"If they lose it now, they would blowing it.

"They don't want to be remembered as the players that didn't win the league when Rangers weren't in it.

"No manager can ever please every player in his dressing-room.

"Some will be happy, some will be disappointed, that he is going, but he is still their manager and they are professionals."

Wright believes that the speculation about Deila's future probably led to him making the call now to leave Celtic.

"There has probably been too much in the media regarding his position," he added.

"He probably felt that he was going to get this from day one from next season as well and he will sit back and think it's the right decision for him."

Top Stories

Around Scottish sport