St Johnstone got the Scottish Cup draw “nobody wanted”, manager Tommy Wright has admitted.
But that doesn’t mean they can’t be the team to end Celtic’s incredible run of victories in domestic knock-out competitions.
“The important thing was being in the hat,” said Wright, whose team will host the Hoops at the end of the month in the quarter-final tie.
“We probably got the draw that nobody wanted when you consider Celtic have won so many games in the cup. I think it’s 33 on the bounce.
“But we’ll deal with it when it comes around. I’m just pleased that we’re in the draw and we have got a home tie.
“We haven’t done well against Celtic. It’s a David versus Goliath situation but we do know upsets can happen in the cups.
“The draw is done now and my focus is on the three league games in between. My focus is on getting three points against Motherwell.”
Should they win those three points at McDiarmid Park tomorrow night, Saints have a chance of moving up a place.
“I’m looking at trying to catch Kilmarnock, which is a two point gap,” he said. “That has to be the focus.
“And I’m looking for my team to do better against Motherwell compared to last time. It was a sore one.
“Results, and how games end up, cloud reality sometimes because we had good chances before they scored and there was nothing in the game.
“When we went 1-0 down the reaction was totally wrong and we capitulated.
“In the game here, we should have won. We missed a penalty and Mark Gillespie was man of the match.
“Motherwell fully deserve to be ahead of us because they’ve won more games. We’ve had too many draws.
“They have converted draws into wins and that is how they have had a great season so far.
“There isn’t a lot between the two teams and they will know that.
“We’re in a better place and need to keep the level of performance up. If we do that, I’m confident we’ll pick up more points.”
Drey Wright was one of Saints’ best players against Ayr United and making sure the winger doesn’t follow Matty Kennedy out of Perth is an off-field priority.
“I see Drey in training every day and I know he is back to his best,” said Wright. “He just has to have this level of performance consistently now.
“He is someone – there are others – who I’ve informed the club that I want signed.
“Ideally I would have liked it done earlier but we had other pressing issues in the window.
“I don’t see as a club where we could possibly lose Drey and Matty Kennedy in the one season. Hopefully it will get sorted out.
“I would imagine the club have made contact and started the ball rolling.”
Wright added: “I don’t use injuries as an excuse but losing Drey last year was a massive blow to us. I think it affected us.
“We would have won more games and got those extra three or four points which would have got us top six.
“When you come back from a long-term injury, it does take time. But I know how good he is and I want to keep him.”
It is likely to be the same squad of players available to Wright tomorrow.
He reported: “Michael O’Halloran is still going to be a doubt but is making good progress. Murray Davidson is still out.
“Steven Anderson is back with us and he is injured as well. There are no fresh injury concerns from the game on Saturday.
“Considering the conditions and the tough game we had on the Wednesday night, we are quite fortunate.”
Meanwhile, Wright has wished his on-loan midfielder Ross Callachan well after he broke his leg on Saturday playing for Dundee.
“It’s not nice and I heard about it after the game,” he said. “I sent him a message and hopefully his operation goes well.
“It makes it difficult for him to get back this season but I wish him a speedy recovery.”