St Johnstone’s Joe Shaughnessy insists full focus was on finishing fourth

Joe Shaughnessy netting against Hearts.

Joe Shaughnessy has revealed nobody at St Johnstone was thinking of catching Rangers in third in the Premiership table – until now.

Prior to Wednesday night’s game with Hearts at McDiarmid, the full focus was on the tussle with the Jambos for fourth spot.

However, thanks to Shaughnessy’s second-half winning goal, Saints have moved five ahead of Ian Cathro’s side and just six behind Rangers.

Now, the big Irish defender admits the next few weeks in the Premiership could be interesting to say the least.

He said: “No-one really would have expected us to even be sitting fourth at the minute except for everyone in our dressing room.

“We know what we are good at and how to do it. We have always been confident we could be top six and then push on.

“We have never doubted it but a lot of people probably have.

“We have been happy to secure top six. The win over Hearts was good to get away from them and all we had been aiming for was fourth – we hadn’t been aiming any higher.

“We will see what happens over the next couple of weeks.”

Saints travel to face rock bottom side Inverness tomorrow and while they will take nothing for granted, after the Hearts result they will start as favourites to pick up another victory.

Rangers face a daunting trip to Pittodrie to face an in-form Aberdeen on Sunday and it is possible the points gap could be down to three on the Glasgow side by the end of the weekend.

However, Shaughnessy insists it will just be business as usual for Saints.

He added: “We need to keep doing what we do and after that you never know what could happen.

“It is not something we have spoken about trying to catch third. It has all been about getting away from Hearts.

“But any way we can get European football would be great.

“We have a pretty good bunch of lads since I have been here and even before. It has been easy to fit in and everyone has been together.

“Even when things are not going our way, people are prepared to run that extra yard to help their team-mates out.

“It shows in the results and performances throughout the season.

“We know what we have to do to get results, everybody works hard and that is the basis for it.”