As a straight-talking Northern Irishman himself, Tommy Wright wasn’t surprised that Brendan Rodgers didn’t pull any punches in his post-match assessment of Celtic’s defeat at Kilmarnock.
But he also knows that his St Johnstone side can’t count on a second poor performance in a row from the Betfred Cup holders when the teams meet in tomorrow night’s quarter-final at McDiarmid Park.
“Brendan is a bit like myself,” said Wright. “There’s no point in buttering it up for the fans.
“Everyone is indicating their form has been indifferent. You look at the points they are behind Hearts so he can’t be saying things are fine.
“I’m sure all Brendan’s big hitters will come back in for this one. This is another leg of the treble and they will want to get through.
“It has been an indifferent start for them but they are still the champions and the team that everyone will have to beat to win cups or the league.
“Obviously Brendan is disappointed with their start but they still have real quality. And it is early days.
“We probably haven’t played Celtic coming off the back of a sticky patch in my time here.
“You worry a bit because it’s not often they lose two in a row. But we won’t be thinking like think on Wednesday.”
Wright, like Rodgers, is hoping for an improvement from his own team on the back of a Sunday afternoon disappointment.
“As good as Rangers were on Sunday we could have done better,” he reflected.
“So we know we can’t be helping Celtic. We have to make it as difficult as we can for them to try and crank up the pressure.
“It is win or bust and a semi-final is just 90 minutes away. But I have to get the balance between making it difficult for them and being a real threat.
“With the squad we have got, we can do both.
“Sunday proved you need a 90 minute performance against the top teams and we have to produce that to progress.”
Wright added: “We will analyse what happened but will move quickly on to the Celtic game.
“I don’t think we have to pick them up after Sunday’s result because this is another big game.
“We were probably a bit open at times, particularly in the second half but the players kept trying to get back into the game. That left us a bit exposed and Rangers were ruthless.
“Steven Gerrard said after the match that was the best and most ruthless they had been this season.
“But we went there and had 11 shots and we have won 3-1 at Ibrox with far fewer. We also wasted good opportunities to work the keeper.
“People will just look at the result and be negative about it but as a manager I have to pick out the positives.
“But we have to learn from it and certainly defend better against Celtic, particularly in one v one situations.
“We have to make sure we aren’t as open and maybe I have to look at the way we set up against the better teams.”
On the injury front, Wright reported: “Danny Swanson has a problem with his calf, which he picked up in a foul we didn’t get just before Rangers’ fourth goal.
“Drey Wright was taken off as a precaution and Matty Kennedy has an ankle knock but they should both be fine.”