St Johnstone continue to prove they are no one man band

David Wotherspoon.

Danny Swanson may have been St Johnstone’s star turn last season.

But the Perth side are continuing to do a fine job of proving that no player is irreplaceable, according to David Wotherspoon.

The former Hibs man, who comes up against his old team and his old team-mate at McDiarmid Park this afternoon, believes the current Saints squad is the strongest that manager Tommy Wright has ever assembled.

And the unbeaten, 10 points out of 12 start backs that theory up.

“We like to prove people wrong here,” said Wotherspoon.

“Every year it is the same situation. We tend to lose a top player but we still find ways of winning football matches.

“This time Danny left over the summer and before him it was Mikey (O’Halloran) and Stevie May.

“But each time we keep proving people wrong and we are aiming to do it again this season.

“Why not? Right now we have as good a squad as any we’ve had in my time with the club and there is depth to it as well.

“The manager has brought in good players to add to what we already had here.

“The core is still here and there’s a real sense of togetherness about the squad that is important to us.

“Of course Danny was a big loss. He was a very good player and also great to have around the dressing room. But we have moved on and added to the squad. Bringing Mikey back from Rangers was a real boost back at the start of the season.

“When Stevie left we didn’t really replace him but we coped and it is the same every year. And we still keep looking to progress.”

The draw at Celtic was Saints’ only dropped points of the Premiership season to date but it certainly hasn’t derailed their momentum. In fact, you could argue it was the most impressive result of the four.

“It has been a fantastic start to the season,” said Wotherspoon. “We had looked at the games we were facing and knew it was a tough start for us.

“The boys have been brilliant and we have had four great results, especially the draw at Parkhead.

“We were unlucky not to hold on for a win. We went there believing and showed it throughout the game. But now we have to keep it going.”

Swanson hasn’t had much Premiership game-time for Hibs so far and there is a school of thought that the expectation to succeed at Easter Road is greater for a boyhood supporter of the club than it would be for other new signings.

Wotherspoon doesn’t see it that way, though.

“I don’t think there’s any added pressure on Danny there just because he is Hibs through and through,” he said.

“He was brought up a fan so he should just be enjoying himself now that he is playing for the team he has always supported.

“I know Paul Hanlon was a supporter from my time there and is well-liked by everyone at the club. And you can see he has progressed in his time at Easter Road.

“There’s really only Paul and Lewis Stevenson from my time at Hibs. There has always been turnaround in players there.”

He added: “It was only four years ago that I left but they have definitely progressed since dropping down a league and coming back up last season. It is a really good club.

“Maybe lifting the cup gave the fans a huge boost but the biggest achievement has to be getting back into the top league. That was important. It is hard being down in the Championship but they seem to have carried on their momentum from last season.

“They’re doing well but we just focus on ourselves here and we’re looking to keep our good run going.”

Wright will have Murray Davidson available after he recovered from his concussion at Celtic Park but Blair Alston is still out.