St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright insists the victory over Hearts on Wednesday night and the manner in which it was achieved showed his players’ focus had never wavered during what had been a trying time for the club.
Saints hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons last weekend after team-mates Danny Swanson and Richard Foster were involved in an on-field physical confrontation at Hamilton that resulted in both being red carded.
They were subsequently suspended for the game against the Jambos but Wright admitted that the rest of the players had already moved on when they arrived for training on Monday.
Now, with the matter set to be resolved today, the McDiarmid manager is keen that the saga is put to bed and the club can once again concentrate solely on football matters, starting with tomorrow’s game against Inverness.
Wright said: “The investigation has taken place and the next stage is a disciplinary meeting with the players. The club will then make a statement and that will draw a line under it officially.
“There’s no doubt it was a difficult weekend for us but once we came back into work on Monday, as a squad, we had already moved on from the events at Hamilton.
“The important thing was that we prepared for Hearts and now we are preparing for Inverness. It has had no bearing on how we are functioning as a club.
“It hasn’t disrupted our match preparations and you could see that in the manner of the performance against Hearts. The other players haven’t let it affect them.
“I know my players, I am in the dressing-room and I knew how they would react positively to Saturday’s events.
“I have spoken to both players and there is no problem between them. They made up after the game. This won’t linger or fester.
“Mistakes have been made and the lads know that so we can’t and won’t forget the incident happened.”
As well as Swanson and Foster, Saints were also without a whole host of other senior players for the game against the Jambos.
Wright acknowledged the absences may have lulled Hearts into a false sense of security – but he knew they would definitely not be facing a weakened side.
The manager added: “We weren’t just missing Danny and Richard – Murray Davidson, Steven Anderson, Chris Kane and Keith Watson were all missing as well.
“That tells you it is all about our squad. No matter whether players are missing because of suspension or injuries, we go out and try to do the best with what we’ve got.
“I know Hearts thought it might have weakened us and rightly so. I might have looked on another team in the same way. But there was no negativity within our squad.
“It was always going to be a massive game and the players responded magnificently. We totally dominated the game after the first 15 or 20 minutes and were on the front foot against a Hearts side littered with individual talent.”
A massive 21 points separates St Johnstone from bottom of the table Inverness but Wright is definitely not taking anything for granted when his side travel to the Highlands tomorrow.
He said: “Inverness is a tough place to go. We know that because they have beaten us there this season. They have had a lot of draws and are difficult to beat.
“We can’t relax with a five-point gap on Hearts and the flip side of that is you can’t rule out putting pressure on Rangers with a good run because they are now only six points ahead of us. We want to try to close that gap.
“What we are contemplating right now is securing fourth place and hopefully by getting the points that takes us closer to Rangers for the run-in.
“The biggest thing for us is that we are at the right end of the table and we still have a lot to play for, either third or fourth place could be there for us. That is really pleasing.
“Every win is vital because every three points makes it much more difficult for Hearts to catch us. That is our immediate focus and I suppose by doing that we are trying to get closer to Rangers.”
Davidson, who missed the Hearts game with a stiff back, may come back into contention for Inverness along with Steven Anderson, although Swanson and Foster are still suspended while Watson and Kane remain out injured.