St Johnstone’s season can be transformed if they continue their upward momentum all the way through to the winter break, according to manager Tommy Wright.
A draw at Kilmarnock and a win at Hearts have taken the Perth side above Hamilton and Saturday’s opponents in the Premiership table.
But Wright doesn’t want to stop there, with three more matches against bottom six sides before the end of 2019, beginning with St Mirren at McDiarmid Park this weekend.
“The Hearts win was huge in a number of respects,” said the Saints boss. “Getting three points against one of the teams around us was a big thing obviously.
“But also getting a win away from home for the first time in a long time is significant too.
“With the games we have coming up I talked about momentum and winning at Tynecastle gives us the platform to build that now.
“We looked at the four matches, but it’s all about St Mirren now and nobody is looking beyond that.
“We have had a good start. The next few weeks can go a long way to determining where we will finish in the league this season.
“Nobody here ever takes anything for granted, but we have looked hard to beat again and that has pleased me a lot.”
Recently acquired defensive solidity has been at the heart of the Saints revival, with back to back clean-sheets underlining how significantly things have improved from the days when they were conceding four to the likes of Hibs and Motherwell.
“When we were finishing top six in the league after almost every game you heard from opposition managers how poor a game it had been when they played us,” said Wright.
“That was what I wanted to hear most of the time because when they’re saying that it means we’ve been doing our jobs defensively.
“I used to have a little chuckle to myself because it meant we’d been dogged and well organised.
“So hearing people say the last two games have been poor is great for me. We have kept two clean sheets and that’s exactly what I asked of the players at the back.
“On Saturday the conditions were not ideal, the pitch was poor and the wind was really bad.
“But I think in the key moments we played the better football and had more quality up top – and ultimately that’s what won us the game.
“But getting back to being solid at the back has been the biggest aim for us lately and I’ve been delighted with the clean sheets.”
Wright added: “Callum Booth and Liam Gordon have come into the team and made a big difference.
“Scott Tanser gives us a bit more going forward but Boothy is more of a defensive type, while Liam is a good talker so that has helped.
“Everyone has done their jobs the last two games. It has been good basic defending.
“And when we do that, with the pace we have in the team up front you will always create opportunities.
“They have showed they can do it in the last two games, so we need to keep it going now.”
Jason Holt came off on Saturday after 80 minutes with an ankle injury. The swelling hasn’t yet gone down and he will be assessed as the week goes on.
Callum Hendry and Murray Davidson both sustained knee knocks but Wright reported that they should be fine for St Mirren.