Wright: Let's make history
Tommy Wright has stressed to his St Johnstone players that only victory in Saturday's William Hill Scottish Cup final against Dundee United at Celtic Park will confirm them as history makers.
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The Perth club have not won a major trophy in 130 years of existence and this will be the first appearance in the showpiece occasion.
A sense of history enveloped the Saints manager at his final press conference before the match which was held at Scone Palace near Perth, the original home of the Stone of Destiny and crowning place of the Kings of Scots.
However, in a footballing context, the former Newcastle, Manchester City and Northern Ireland goalkeeper urged his players to reign supreme against their Tayside neighbours and win the famous old trophy for the first time.
"We did ask them to create history by getting to the final but the job is not done," said Wright, who will put talks with 27-goal Stevie May about a new contract on hold until after the final.
"Everyone has given us praise and plaudits for being the first St Johnstone team to get to the final but the job isn't done because we want to be the first St Johnstone team to win it.
"There is a level of excitement which has built up over the last seven days and the players are aware of the occasion and what it would mean to the club.
"But when the whistle goes the players will only be concentrating on trying to win a game of football.
"You have to make sure they don't let the occasion take over because if that happens, Dundee United are a very good side and we will end up not winning the cup.
"So we have to enjoy and embrace the occasion but don't be overcome by it."
The 50-year-old Northern Irishman, who moved up from assistant last summer when Steve Lomas left the club for Millwall, acknowledged the notion that St Johnstone's name is on the cup, not least because the talismanic May wears number 17, with the final being played on May 17.
"You hear people say 'we think your name is on the cup this year' and there probably has been that thought for a while," he said
"Even when we drew Aberdeen in the semi-final, when everybody thought Aberdeen were going to win, there was still that belief in the squad and there is still a strong belief that this could be our year.
"All those things, the Stevie May thing and my 50th game and my 50th year, will be nice if you win it and you can say we were always going to win it.
"But we have to be focused for the game. If we turn up we believe we have a great a chance of winning the cup."
The McDiarmid Park manager saluted the 15,000 Saints fans - approximately a third of Perth's population - who will make their way to the east end of Glasgow, even though most of them will be at their first St Johnstone match in a while.
"If you consider our core support is probably 2,500 and we have 15,000 coming, that shows you how much that means to a lot of people," he said.
"People have travelled from all corners of the world and there will be supporters who have not been at a St Johnstone game for tens of years.
"But they still have a soft spot for St Johnstone and this is an occasion they don't want to miss."
As excitement builds by the day, Wright revealed he has already had messages of support.
"It's almost like New Year's Eve when people text you early and say 'Happy New Year' in case they don't get through to you later on," he added.
"They've started from about Monday this week.
"There's been no unusual ones, just people ringing me up at half 11 at night, so there's just been strange times.
"But it's all part of it and hopefully we can create a bit of history."
On the subject of May extending his contract with the Perth club, Wright was very positive.
He said: "What I will say is that when a player wants to stay, it makes negotiations easy.
"We will look at his contract and improve that but it is not the case that we have to spend a lot of money to encourage him to stay.
"He feels as a career move, it would be better to stay and play another year.
"He wants to play every week, he wants to stay in Scotland as long as possible to develop his career and he wants to stay at St Johnstone.
"That is all positive news for us but that can wait until after the final."