Neil McCann will be “desperate to avoid” playing Premiership catch-up with Dundee, according to St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright.
The Perth boss takes his team to Dens Park on Saturday with their Tayside neighbours still seeking their first win of the Premiership campaign.
Wright believes the big rebuilding job that McCann has taken on is one that needs time to be seen through but he knows that the former Sky Sports pundit will be determined to get a derby win to make the here and now look a lot more positive.
“Neil will be finding it tough but he will have expected management to be tough,” said Wright.
“He will certainly know now how difficult it is.
“But I have no doubt he will be working extremely hard to turn things around.
“Dundee certainly have ability in their squad, they have good players, and he will need them to perform to a consistent level because that’s what you need to pick up points in this league.
“I spoke to Neil quite a few times when he was with Sky because he used to come in for a chat and Graham Gartland was still at St Johnstone when I joined. So I know them both.”
“Neil has had to bring in a lot of new players over the summer.
“After the season they had last year he obviously thought what they had wasn’t good enough so has tried to change that.
“It takes time when you are bringing in new players in numbers.”
Wright added: “They will be looking to get back to winning as soon as possible because they don’t want too big a gap opening up.
“You saw last season with Inverness how difficult it is to play catch-up so Neil will be desperate to avoid getting into that situation.
“When you are chasing teams in front of you it makes for a very difficult season.
“We all go through bad spells as managers.
“I have had five and six-game losing or winless runs, Alan Archibald has had them, Jim McIntyre has had them.
“It happens in this league because the margins are so tight between so many clubs.”
Meanwhile, the illness which forced Murray Davidson off at half-time on Saturday kept the midfielder out of training yesterday.
And Wright was sticking to his post-match opinion that Davidson shouldn’t have put his hand up to play against Hibs in the first place.
“Murray is still sick so he is off today,” he said.
“I was disappointed at him for saying he was fit then having to come off but I suppose you can look at it both ways.
“It’s good to see players desperate to play when they are not 100% but ultimately it was the wrong decision.
“Hopefully he will come back in in a few days’ time and be ready to go again.
“Nobody was blasting him He made a decision to play and got it wrong because his performance wasn’t what it should have been.
“Blair Alston still hasn’t returned to full training so we will just have to see how he is as the week goes on.”