St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright believes Celtic face difficult Euro balancing act

By Brian McLauchlinBBC Scotland
Tommy Wright and Brendan Rodgers
Tommy Wright's St Johnstone side drew 1-1 with Brendan Rodgers' Celtic in August

St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright reckons Celtic face a tough tactical balancing act when taking on Europe's elite.

The Scottish champions were hammered 5-0 at home by Paris St-Germain in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

While Wright sets his side up to try to contain teams boasting superior players, he knows Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers is in a different situation.

"Managing Celtic is different as their fans, particularly at home, expect them to be on the front foot," he said.

"When you're up against players with so much quality, I feel it's best that we set up in a way that tries to nullify them first of all.

"I don't think we can ever go to Celtic and take them on head-on from the first whistle. Yes, you want to cause them problems, but it's not a case of being on the front foot all the time.

Celtic v PSG
Paris St-Germain inflicted Celtic's heaviest ever home defeat in Europe on Tuesday night

"There are things we feel we can do against the better teams in terms of pressing higher up the pitch, making it difficult for them and putting them out of their style of play."

Celtic endured a tough night against an already star-studded side that this summer spent £200m on Brazilian superstar Neymar and agreed to pay £166m to make on-loan Monaco forward Kylian Mbappe's deal permanent next year.

Wright, however, says the disparity in resources is something most managers have to deal with week-in, week-out.

"It's the same in most leagues," said Wright, who has guided his Saints to three successive fourth-placed finishes in the Premiership on a modest budget.

"Celtic, Rangers, then it goes Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibs in our league [have the biggest budgets].

"It's the same down in England. I look upon it as a challenge coming up against these teams. I don't look upon it as if we are jealous. It is what it is. I always feel the manager's job is to get the best out of the players he has.

"Finances certainly do help Celtic amass a squad that can win this league quite comfortably but then they are moving into a different ball game when they go into the Champions League.

"PSG can go and spend £200m on one player then another £166m on another so it's always been the case - there is always someone who has more money than you."

Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Neymar
Paris St-Germain's front three of Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Neymar were all on target against Celtic

With five games played in the league season, Saints are unbeaten and sit in third spot on 11 points, much to Wright's delight after a difficult start to the campaign.

"After the disappointment of going out of Europe and the League Cup, the players have performed really well in the league," added Wright, whose side visit Dundee on Saturday.

"When you think we've taken a point off Celtic in one of those five games, and we're still unbeaten, I've got to be really happy with that.

"I think you still get the feeling every year that people are sort of waiting for the bubble to burst, but we work extremely hard as a group, we know each other, the squad doesn't change dramatically in a short period of time and it helps that there's continuity to what we do here. That always helps.

"Ultimately, I think we've got very good players who have performed at a consistently high level over a number of years now."

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