Tommy Wright: Euro clubs have eye on St Johnstone

Liam Cregg (left) and Steven MacLean celebrate at the final whistle. Picture: SNS
Liam Cregg (left) and Steven MacLean celebrate at the final whistle. Picture: SNS
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St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright claims clubs around Europe will be sitting up and taking notice of his side after their win over Norwegian heavyweights Rosenborg.

The Perth outfit defied a side with a budget 18 times that of their £1million wage bill as they sealed Europa League progress.

The 2-1 aggregate win over the former Champions League quarter-finalists now sets up a third qualifying round clash with FC Minsk.

And Wright claims the Belarusians and other sides around the continent will have to re-evaluate their thoughts on Saints following the win.

He said: “For us to turn over a team of that European quality and pedigree, and the budget that they have, is something the players should be very proud of.

“Will people round Europe take notice of this result? Yeah, I believe so. It probably hasn’t sunk it for me yet. They are a side of internationals in every position.

“The pleasing thing for me was that over two legs, it was deserved. They ran out of ideas and were knocking long balls into the box. That is all down to players and how hard they worked.”

St Johnstone led from the first leg in Trondheim thanks to Frazer Wright’s winner but fell behind in the Perth return after just four minutes at McDiarmid.

Alexander Soderlund - the 14-cap Norway international making his first start for the club - held off two challenges before bundling a low shot through Wright’s legs and past the stationary Alan Mannus.

But 20-year-old hometown boy Stevie May made himself a Perth hero when he combined with David Wotherspoon to prod past Daniel Orlund after the Rosenborg goalkeeper had got himself into a mess with defender Mikael Dorsin.

St Johnstone had to endure a late barrage as the visitors desperately sought the second goal which would have sent them through, but they held strong.

Rosenborg boss Per Joar Hansen reasoned that the best team had lost but backed Saints to progress further in the competition.

“Can St Johnstone make the group stages? Of course,” Hansen said. “They beat us and play with a big heart.

“I thought we were the better team but we didn’t score the goals to go further in the competition.”