Recruiting a battle-hardened centre-back in January will be “crucial” for St Johnstone, manager Tommy Wright has admitted.
Saturday’s 4-1 home defeat to Hibs was the latest example of basic errors in defence costing the Perth side dearly.
A young Saints defence has leaked 28 goals so far and Wright believes adding some know-how to the heart of it will help solve the issue.
“It’s frustrating but I’m not going to bash the players too much. We know it’s going to be up and down this season,” said Wright.
“We have young players at the back and they probably need a bit of experience to help them. We will look at that in January.
“It will be a crucial window for everyone but particularly from our point of view.
“I’m one experienced centre-back away from having a really good squad – he will help the younger players. So that will be our main priority.”
Saints are far from alone in their early-season struggles.
Their poor start may have left them in an unfamiliar league position but they certainly haven’t been cut adrift from the part of the table they are more accustomed to occupying.
“It’s going to be a tough season for a lot of teams and we obviously haven’t started well,” said Wright.
“The perception is that Ross County have started brilliantly coming up from the Championship. They are sixth but only four points ahead of us.
“Livingston are only three points ahead of us – because they beat Celtic.
“You would imagine Hibs and Hearts will end up around the top six with the resources they have.
“But that leaves maybe five clubs you can put a blanket over. It is so tight.
“Two wins took us from bottom to eighth for a short period.
“So you can soon shoot up the table with a few good results.”
Another international break will prevent Saints from bouncing straight back from their three-goal weekend defeat.
A closed-doors game has been arranged for today to keep the players who didn’t feature against Hibs ticking over.
“Even a draw would have been a good result to keep momentum going,” Wright reflected.
“Now we’ve got another break coming up. We don’t play until next Sunday.
“It’s been really stop-start for us. It will be nice when we get a run of games.
“You could see what two wins did for us – it took us from bottom to eighth. So getting three or four good result will shoot us up the table.”
Liam Gordon is the only player injured. It was a selection call to not include Chris Kane in Saturday’s match day squad.
Wright explained: “I’ve got plenty of choice in terms of who I place on the bench. If everybody stays fit people will be disappointed every week.”