Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...
If there was a Premiership title race when Aberdeen arrived at McDiarmid Park, there wasn’t one by the time they left. St Johnstone ripped the Dons apart in as one-sided an encounter as there has been in the top flight this season. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFGzEYBeQDg No team has caused more damage to Aberdeen’s league challenge than Saints, with this heavy defeat being added to a 2015/16 list that already had a 5-1 Pittodrie rout and a February draw on it. In the 5-1 Aberdeen had some cause to claim that the scoreline was harsh on them. Not here. David Wotherspoon’s free-kick opener, Steven MacLean’s delicate poacher’s goal and Liam Craig’s second half clincher made this 3-0 scoreline an entirely fair one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXJaCQBGtEA Saints controlled possession, were more creative in attack and much more secure at the back. Crucially (and inexplicably from an Aberdeen perspective) they were also far more hungry. The Saints players had insisted through the week that post-split motivation wouldn’t be a problem even though Rangers’ Scottish Cup semi-final win killed off the possibility of shooting for a European place in their last five fixtures. And, with the way they started the game, you had to believe them. They were at Aberdeen from the off, with Wotherspoon’s cross from the right finding the head of Graham Cummins. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsLIQcR0nGo His effort went over and referee Craig Thomson ruled that it touched an Aberdeen man on its way out. From a Wotherspoon corner that the visitors thought shouldn’t have been given Joe Shaughnessy crashed a header off the face of the bar from about five yards out and the rebound didn’t fall kindly for any of his team-mates. That should have been 1-0 but the Perth men didn’t have long to wait for their opener. On 14 minutes young debutant Michael Rose fouled Cummins and from the free-kick just over 20 yards out Wotherspoon curled the ball towards the near post. Keeper Scott Brown should have kept it out but the late dip, aided by a slight deflection off the top of Kenny McLean’s head, deceived him and Saints had their lead. Things just weren’t clicking for a strangely subdued Dons side and their shortcomings in were both boxes were summed up on 21 minutes when one of their corners nearly ended up with a second goal being conceded. They were opened up on the counter-attack by a Murray Davidson through-ball far too easily and Chris Millar didn’t miss the far post by much with his low left foot shot. Derek McInnes had started with three at the back for the first time this season. Within half-an-hour he reverted to the familiar four in an effort to change the flow of the match. It probably wasn’t his formation that was causing this to be a mismatch, though. It was his players. And one of the poorest of the 11 was keeper Brown. He was a lucky boy when a Wotherspoon corner floated over the top of him and he tripped himself up. Steven Anderson bundled the ball home but the referee – wrongly – awarded the Reds a free-kick. This moment of good fortune didn’t prove to be a turning point. On 38 minutes the Aberdeen defence was again a shambles when Tam Scobbie launched a long ball to the back post, Anderson nodded it into the danger area and MacLean finished it off with the toe of his boot. McInnes made one half-time change, replacing youngster Rose with veteran Barry Robson. It didn’t make any difference as 10 minutes after the re-start it was 3-0. Mark Reynolds was dispossessed by Millar, who quickly shifted the ball on to Cummins, who in turn picked out Craig. The midfielder had the freedom of the box at the back post and slotted the ball past Brown. Zander Clark was given a rare start by Tommy Wright and the young keeper must think this first team lark is a stroll in the park. His first start was against the Dons in the 5-1 romp and this was his second. Clark looked composed – far more so than his opposite number – but he was rarely called into action. Simon Church had a sight of goal on 71 minutes but he scuffed his shot and Clark kept it out with little fuss. Robson did eventually test him in the dying minutes but the big keeper got a strong hand to a free-kick that was heading for the bottom corner. St Johnstone – Clark, Scobbie, Anderson, Millar (Doyle 85), Davidson (Lappin 61), MacLean, Wotherspoon, Shaughnessy, Cummins (Kane 80), Fisher, Craig. Subs not used – Mannus, Sutton, Brown, Gordon. Aberdeen - Brown, Logan, Shinnie, Rose (Robson 45), Reynolds, Jack, Hayes, McGinn (McLennan 83), McLean, Considine, Church. Subs not used – Collin, Flood, Storie, McKenna, Smith. Referee – Craig Thomson. Attendance - 3,990.
Two late goals turned this match into a Tynecastle thriller as St Johnstone shared the spoils with hosts Hearts. Saints' substitute Chris Kane looked to have secured victory for the visitors with just four minutes to go when he poked a shot past keeper Jack Hamilton from eight yards. However, Callum Paterson - so often the hero for the Edinburgh side - sent a header down and into the net just a minute later to tie it at 2-2. Earlier, Hearts had taken the lead with a disputed goal on 25 minutes when a Prince Buaben header was ruled to have crossed the line despite the efforts of defender Brian Easton. The visitors recovered and hit back four minutes from the interval with a terrific break upfield that was finished off by Danny Swanson after a defence-splitting pass from Steven MacLean. Chris Millar was restored to Saints’ line-up for only his seventh appearance of the season, while Blair Alston also started. Both Liam Craig and Graham Cummins dropped down to the bench, which also included a fit-again Tam Scobbie. The hosts made three changes, with Buaben, Liam Smith, Prince and Tony Watt replacing Faycal Rherras, Anaud Djoum and Robbie Muirhead. The visitors had a chance to take the lead on five minutes when David Wotherspoon cut in from the left then fired a right-foot shot at Hamilton, which the Hearts keeper did well to punch away. St Johnstone’s Blair Alston was booked for a foul on Smith just inside the home half then there were claims for a Hearts penalty – ignored by referee Don Robertson - when Watt went down inside the box. Swanson had a snap-shot saved by Hamilton on 15 minutes, after a Paul Paton freekick eventually broke to him at the edge of the area. Just seconds later, Jamie Walker broke forward for the hosts but his shot flew wide of the post. There was a scare for Saints on 18 minutes when keeper Zander Clark tried to boot clear up the park but, as Paterson chased it down, the ball hit the Hearts man and went just wide of the goal. Paton tried to hit back for the McDiarmid men with a 20-yarder that soared over the bar then Watt had a shot saved at the other end. It seemed just a matter of time before the game yielded a goal and it duly arrived on 25 minutes, courtesy of Buaben. It was a scrappy one, to say the least, with Don Cowie’s shot getting cleared off the line before spinning up into the air, and Buaben nodding it over the line - or did he? - despite the desperate attempts of Brian Easton to clear. Saints, who lost Millar to injury to be replaced by Craig, were on the back-foot now and Clark had to dive to palm away another Buaben effort on 36 minutes. With four minutes of the half remaining, however, they scored a terrific equaliser. Swanson had teammate MacLean to thank for a brilliant turn and defence-splitting pass that sent him clear. However, the finish – a switch from left to right that had defender John Souttar spinning then curling shot past Hamilton – was just as sublime. The second period started brightly, with Watt sending a drive wide for Hearts before Wotherspoon’s shot was clawed away by Hamilton. Saints came within the width of the woodwork to taking the lead on 51 minutes. It was Wotherspoon’s freekick from 25 yards that struck the post then, as the rebound was tapped into the net by Joe Shaughnessy, assistant ref Brian Templeton put his flag up for offside. Clark came to the visitors’ rescue a couple of minutes later when he saved from Walker then saw Bjorn Johnsen’s follow-up blocked at the near post. Hearts, who replaced goalscorer Buaben with Arnaud Djoum, looked worried on 71 minutes when Wotherspoon crossed to the back post but Swanson just couldn't get enough on his header. The hosts made another change, this time Muirhead coming on for Watt, while St Johnstone goal hero Swanson was replaced by Kane for the final 10 minutes. Kane was only on the pitch for six minutes when he poked a Wotherspoon cutback past Hamilton. However, Paterson was in place to head a Cowie corner down and up into the Saints net to finish the scoring. Attendance: 16,421. Hearts: Hamilton, Paterson, Rossi, Kitchen, Walker, Buaben (Djoum 61), Souttar, Cowie, Johnsen (Sammon 84), Smith, Watt (Muirhead 78). Subs not used: Noring, Rherras, Ozturk, Currie. St Johnstone: Clark, Alston, Anderson, Millar (Craig 25), MacLean, Wotherspoon, Swanson (Kane 80), Shaughnessy, Paton, Foster, Easton. Subs not used: Mannus, Scobbie, Coulson, Gordon, Cummins. Referee: Don Robertson.
Today’s game against Inverness Caledonian Thistle will represent a “fresh start” for the St Johnstone players, according to David Wotherspoon. The Perth men are determined to sort out their poor home form, and the defensive errors that are responsible for it, against a Caley Thistle side that has only won one match out of their last eight. “We need three points,” Wotherspoon admitted. “It’s been a long while since we’ve done that. “Silly mistakes have cost us, and late goals have cost us as well. “But we’ll put that out of our minds now, though. This is a fresh start this weekend. “It’s been a mini-break for us and the boys are looking forward to getting back into it this weekend. “We watched the Ross County game back and we knew that we had made mistakes against them. “The goals we conceded were very poor and easily rectified. “But these things happen. We’ve drawn a line under it.” Saints have built their modern day reputation on defensive solidity. Even though that has temporarily deserted them, the creativity at the other end of the pitch does not appear to be as big an issue. “We’ve been scoring good goals and we’ve had some nice build-up play,” said Wotherspoon. “We need to keep that going, be positive and shut up shop at the back. “Over the past few seasons we’ve become renowned for our solid bank of four and not conceding lightly. “The Ross County goals were the opposite of what people have come to expect from us. “It’s a case of us making sure we are switched on.” Frustration at dropped home points and four headed goals being conceded hasn’t gone yet but Wotherspoon is also mindful that their league position (fifth) is still a very good one. “When you get three points it makes a big difference because the league is so tight,” he said. “We’re still sitting in a nice position. We just need to build on that.” Wotherspoon’s contract is due to run out in the summer and the former Hibs man revealed that negotiations over an extension could be about to commence. “The manager has said that talks are going to start soon,” he said. “I’m just waiting to hear back from the club and we’ll see how it goes. “I’ve loved my time here. “If I stay for longer, that’s great. At the moment I just want to focus on my football. Doing it on the pitch is all that matters just now.” Danny Swanson has been linked with a move to Wotherspoon’s old club and he can understand the interest from Easter Road. But, as with his own situation, Wotherspoon believes Swanson will be putting off-field issues to one side at the moment. He said: “Of course we want Danny to stay. He’s a great player and has been fantastic for us at the start of the season. “Hopefully for us and him that continues. “It’s not a surprise that things like this come up. But at the moment we all just need to focus on what we’re doing and forget about things in the future. “I’m sure he will put it to the back of his mind and let the football take care of itself.” Zander Clark, Murray Davidson and Joe Shaughnessy should all be fit. Chris Millar won’t be risked but Keith Watson may make it back on to the bench.
St Johnstone missed out on the chance to move up to second in the Ladbrokes Premiership table after this defeat against Partick Thistle. In what was Saints 600th competitive fixture at McDiarmid Park, the home side rarely hit the heights but it looked like they would take at least a draw from the game. However, they were stunned by a late, late Thistle winner. St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright made three changes from the team that started against Rangers in midweek with Ibrox goal hero Blair Alston, Chris Millar and Chris Kane on the bench with David Wotherspoon, Steven MacLean and Graham Cummins all being drafted in. The opening exchanges were fairly even but Saints were stunned in the 17th minute when Thistle took the lead. The Jags Sean Welsh hit a deep free-kick into the home penalty area with Danny Devine heading the ball back across goal to give Kris Doolan a simple finish from close range. However, St Johnstone stormed back just a minute later when David Wotherspoon produced a moment of individual brilliance to beat a defender before unselfishly producing a cutback for striker MacLean who clinically steered the ball in from 12 yards past Thistle keeper Thorsten Stuckmann. Home stopper Zander Clark then had to look lively, diving full stretch to his left after a long-range Christie Elliott shot was deflected dangerously towards goal off Saints defender Brian Easton. After that flurry of goals, there were few clear-cut chances for either side with the teams heading down the tunnel at half-time with the game level. In the 56th minute, Wotherspoon sent a long cross in from the right. There seemed to be little danger but Stuckmann was stunned when the ball clipped the top of his crossbar before going out for a goal-kick. Clark then had to make vital saves from shots from Ade Azeez and Ryan Edwards with Saints struggling to create chances at the other end. It looked like the home side had contained Thistle for the rest of the game to secure a precious point however in the first minute of added-on time, Jags sub David Amoo cut the ball back to his skipper Abdul Osman who rifled past Clark to secure all three points for his side. For full report, reaction and analysis, see Monday’s Courier.
David Wotherspoon admits he breathed a sigh of relief when he heard Tommy Wright was staying at St Johnstone. Wotherspoon’s career got back on track at McDiarmid Park after a mixed time at Hibs, with Wright moving for him not long after replacing Steve Lomas as Saints boss in the summer of 2013. So it is little wonder that the 25-year-old was delighted when Wright turned his back on a switch to Dundee United despite being the Tangerines’ top target by agreeing a new four-year deal with the Perth side on Monday. Wotherspoon said: “As a player you can’t worry too much about what is going to happen but it was a huge boost for me to hear that he is staying. “The lads had a few laughs about the interest from United but we were wondering what was going to happen. “I was also getting asked by fans about a potential move for the manager to United. “They felt it would be more of a sidestep and maybe even a backwards move. “They would have been disappointed if he had left, as would I have been. “The manager was very keen on getting me from the start of his time in charge here. He was very positive. “We have enjoyed a great understanding since I have been at Saints. “He has given me a chance to play with freedom and emphasised that I should enjoy my football. “In my first season I didn’t miss a game and, of course, we won the Scottish Cup and he has led us into Europe. “He has a lot of qualities as a manager. He has an understanding of what players have to deal with.”
Steven MacLean insists the next time St Johnstone have a chance to secure second place in the Premiership table, they will seize it with both hands. Saints could have moved up to be the “best of the rest” behind runaway leaders Celtic on Saturday with a positive result against Partick Thistle. Instead, they were undone by a late sickener in stoppage time with the defeat sending them down to fifth. MacLean admitted the Saints players were all bitterly disappointed with the nature of the loss and they are now even more determined that if opportunity knocks in the future, they will take full advantage. He said: “It's really frustrating. It's a 1-1 game but that's happened to us three times now this season. “They've taken the three points and it has cost us second place. We've been done by a setpiece again and a mistake for the second goal but these things happen. “We just have to move onto next week, which is a big game against Hearts. We need to cut out the silly mistakes. “We are sitting afterwards thinking we could have been in second place. It's only natural to think that but we will bounce back. We always do. If we cut out the silly mistakes we will be fine. “It would have been nice to pick up the newspapers and see St Johnstone sitting in second place in the table. It's not worked out for us but that's the St Johnstone way, isn't it? “But the next time we get that chance we need to take it. That's what good teams do. “That's what the top teams do. St Johnstone have not been second in the league many times so we are not used to it but we need to look at this and improve.” It was suggested to MacLean that having lost crucial late goals now three times this season, the team weren’t learning their lessons and he replied: “That's a fair point. But that's when everyone has to look at themselves. “We've been done by sucker punches against Inverness and Kilmarnock too. It's a team thing and we will look into it and make it right.” The opening exchanges were fairly even but Saints were stunned in the 17th minute when Thistle took the lead. The Jags Sean Welsh hit a deep free-kick into the home penalty area with Danny Devine heading the ball back across goal to give Kris Doolan a simple finish from close range. However, St Johnstone stormed back straight from the restart when David Wotherspoon produced a moment of individual brilliance to turn a defender before unselfishly squaring the ball to striker MacLean who clinically fired home from 12 yards past Thistle keeper Thorsten Stuckmann. Saints stopper Zander Clark then had to look lively, diving full stretch to his left after a long-range Christie Elliott shot was deflected dangerously towards goal off Brian Easton. In the 56th minute, Wotherspoon sent a long cross in from the right. There seemed to be little danger but Stuckmann was stunned when the ball clipped the top of his crossbar before going out for a goal-kick. Clark then had to make vital saves from shots from Ade Azeez and Ryan Edwards with Saints struggling to create chances at the other end. It looked like the home side had contained Thistle for the rest of the game to secure a precious point however in the first minute of added-on time, Jags sub David Amoo pounced on a Liam Craig heavy touch before cutting cut the ball back to his skipper Abdul Osman who rifled high past Clark to secure all three points for his side. While obviously disappointed by the defeat, MacLean admitted he was more than impressed by team-mate Wotherspoon’s defence-splitting pirouette in the build-up to his goal. He added: “It was a bit special, wasn't it. It's a shame he couldn't have done it again and set up another goal for me. But it was different class. That's what he brings to the team. “He maybe needs to do it more often because there's good competition for places here now. “Blair Alston is probably a bit unlucky after his best performance for us in midweek and a wonder goal against Rangers. It will be a good fight to see who plays down that side.”
St Johnstone enhanced their prospects of a fourth successive top six finish by dominating a Paisley side which is in dire danger of losing its Premier status. Only once did the Buddies pose a serious threat to Perth keeper Alan Mannus, who clocked-up his fourth clean sheet in five games. With Northern Ireland’s friendly looming with Scotland in midweek, he will be hoping that impressive track record has not gone unnoticed by international manager Michael O’Neill. On-loan Dundee United striker Brian Graham impressed in his first start since mid-January, scoring once, hitting the post and he could easily have had a hat-trick with midfielder David Wotherspoon providing a steady stream of crosses from the flanks. It was from a second half Wotherspoon corner that centre-back Steven Anderson stole round the back and repeated their combination for the memorable Scottish Cup final opening goal. The three points saw the McDiarmid side nudge aside tumbling Hamilton Accies to occupy fifth place and now they are closing in on Dundee United. But St Mirren are a club in crisis, with under threat Motherwell and Ross County opening-up a gap. Seven days after crashing to an unexpected 3-0 defeat to Partick Thistle, Perth playmaker Wotherspoon admitted: “It was a must win to push for a top six place and we went about it the right way. “It wasn’t us last week. It just wasn’t like us. But, we bounced back and we could have scored a couple more goals. “We are just delighted to get the win. “Our aim is to catch Dundee United. We need to look ahead. It is not unrealistic to catch them. We have enough games left to push on. “United have had a difficult run of games recently and we will look to capitalise on that. “That might play a part but we just need to focus on ourselves.” Reflecting on his corner kick and Anderson’s mirror image header of the May 17 strike against Dundee United, he said: “The second goal was familiar. I just put the ball at the back post knowing he is always about that area. “We don’t really work on it but luckily Ando was at the back stick to put it away.” The Perth Saints should have won more handsomely against a Buddies side drained of belief. They seized the initiative from the opening minutes and held onto it, although it did require a brilliant reflex save from an otherwise idle Mannus to prevent Viktor Genev volleying in a 67th minute strike to halve the deficit. Perth manager Tommy Wright was rewarded for restoring Graham for the first since mid-January and defender Frazer Wright was rock solid at the back after concussion sustained against Kilmarnock. Loan star Graham was thwarted by a timely Jason Naismith block in the sixth minute and the chances kept coming. He headed wide from a Wotherspoon cross and hammered a tight angled shot at the keeper after a brilliant sweeping Perth move and a Dave Mackay cross. Graham was out of luck with a delicious curling 20-yard shot which evaded the keeper but clipped the post and then he headed wide from a promising position. But the striker persevered and was rewarded when the breakthrough was made in the 33rd minute, with defender Jim Goodwin guilty of giving him too much room in the danger area. The centre controlled Wotherspoon’s delivery and had time to take a couple of touches before prodding it past the exposed keeper. After the break Graham couldn’t believe he had failed to net with a diving header from another Wotherspoon cross and Anderson came close before his 67th minute header. Perth boss Wright confirmed the players had stuck to the game plan and got their reward. And assessing Wotherspoon’s contribution, he said: “I’ve been pleased with David since I brought him to the club. I gave him some stick in the second half because I felt he could have put the ball in a couple of times. “But David is a wonderful footballer. It was a great ball for both goals.” He added: “It was important to start well and we did that. We knew they play a high line and we’d talked about getting balls in behind them and when we got into the last third to put balls in the box. “We did that. Second half we could have done it a wee bit more. We got the second goal and I think we deserved that.” He added: “We’re pleased Brian has come in and scored a goal and we’ve got a clean sheet. We’re up to fifth and it was just what we needed. “He’s had a few chances today and he gets into good positions. It was a decent ball in from Wotherspoon. “The ball dropped to his feet and he kept calm before sticking it away. He was unlucky with the one that hit the post and maybe should have done better with the header. “But he had a good day and I’m really pleased with his contribution.” “We emphasised to the players every win is vital. Winning opens a gap on Kilmarnock, Dundee and moves us above Hamilton who we have next.” St Mirren’s caretaker coach Gary Teale was brutally frank. He said: “We were awful. We were outfought and it was extremely disappointing. “I’m the manager, I will take responsibility but that performance just wasn’t good enough. “It was one of the worst of the season.”
St Johnstone midfielder David Wotherspoon has a double figure goals tally in his sights. And he could even become the club’s top scorer for the season. For a man who couldn’t buy a goal for 12 months and more, it has been quite a turn around for the former Hibs man. And, with a derby against Dundee United up next tomorrow, long may it continue. “It’s a good feeling to get on the scoresheet,” Wotherspoon said. “It is about being in the right place at the right time. “It is strange because I went a year without scoring and I was getting stick from pals and even my family. “Macca (Steven MacLean) is on 10 and I have eight. I am targeting double figures so I might even be in with a chance of being the top scorer at the club if I can find another few goals. “This is the most I have scored, by a long way. I think I scored five one season at Hibs. “Double figures has been my target for a few years now and this is the closest I have been. Hopefully I can add to my tally before the end of the season.” Goals are all very well, but it’s still Premiership points that are Wotherspoon’s priority. “Top six is our main aim,” he said. “We are close now but we have to secure it this weekend. “It will be a tough game because United are scrapping for everything. “I watched their match against Dundee and it was a great advert for Scottish football. It was end to end stuff and they showed their fighting spirit with the equaliser near the end. “United are battling to keep their place in the division but we have our own priorities. “We will have to match them because they will make it a battle. That has been drilled into them recently. “But we are on a good run of form and want it to continue. We have gone back to basics and have been playing well on the bail and keeping possession. We are looking for more of the same against United.”
TOMMY Wright watched early goal of the season contenders from David Wotherspoon and Michael O’Halloran secure an opening day win at Kilmarnock. But post-match comments from Rugby Park striker and regular television pundit Kris Boyd overlooked the quality of his team’s strikes in a 2-1 win. Boyd had challenged his Killie colleagues to learn from top six regulars Saints in terms of being more “streetwise” and “doing the dirty things in football.” It may have been a back-handed compliment but Perth manager Tommy Wright believes his players simply don’t get the credit they deserve in terms of flair and finesse. Wright likened on-loan Rangers flyer O’Halloran’s last minute winner to a memorable mazy George Best run and strike against Crystal Palace in his Man United heyday. And Wotherspoon’s fancy footwork and classy finish rounded off a flowing passing move. Wright, who is looking for his side to build on the weekend win in tonight’s Betfred Cup clash with Partick Thistle at McDiarmid Park, stressed he didn’t have an issue with Boyd. But he lamented: “Talking in general, it didn’t take long for the old stuff about being streetwise and all that to start again this season. “It’s disappointing. We are more than just a hard working side. “I thought we played very well on Saturday, we nullified Kilmarnock for long spells and scored two excellent goals. “But what was the focus on? Us being labelled streetwise, giving away fouls and grinding out wins. “I think we’re better than that, especially when you score two wonderful goals like we did. “The emphasis was on how Michael should have been booted to stop him scoring – but they couldn’t catch him to kick him! “We have heard it all before, all the stuff about how we’re a big, strong team. “But I reckon we’re probably the smallest team in the league height-wise. We don’t have many six-foot-two giants in our team. “I just find it disappointing that every time we win a game people put it down to us being streetwise. “You have to have a bit of quality to win football matches at this level but with us that gets overlooked. “People categorise us as physical, long ball and all that stuff but it’s not true. “We are worth more than what people say about us. “I think I have every right to stand up for my team and how they play because if people say something often enough it sticks. “We had a three in behind Graeme Cummins of Stefan Scougall, David Wotherspoon and Blair Alston – all excellent footballers. “People forget the quality we have and the good players we have. “It’s a sad incitement for the rest of the league if we’ve managed to finish where we have over the last few years just from being streetwise. “We have got off to a good start to the season and now we’ll focus on Partick in the cup.” Wright has thrown down the gauntlet to his players as they enter the Betfred competition for the first time. He said: “Partick are a good side and we know it will be a tough game. “Both teams will want to progress but our aim is to put in a good performance. By entering at this stage we only have to win three games to get to the final.” Midfielder Paul Paton is suspended but striker Steven MacLean returns after missing out on Rugby Park’s artificial surface.