Tommy Wright defends decision as Hearts striker sparkles on artificial pitch

Tommy Wright has defended his decision to stop Steven MacLean from playing on artificial surfaces during the striker's time at St Johnstone.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 7th August 2018, 2:47 pm
Updated Tuesday, 7th August 2018, 4:28 pm

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The Hearts forward started and scored for his new club at the weekend as the Tynecastle side defeated Hamilton Accies 4-1 away from home.

Due to the synthetic surface at New Douglas Park, MacLean was rested whenever St Johnstone visited the ground in recent seasons. The same went for when Saints travelled to Rugby Park.

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Steven MacLean scored for Hearts in their 4-1 win over Hamilton. Picture: SNS

However, Hearts boss Craig Levein said last month that MacLean would be available for those trips, which was certainly beneficial to Hearts this past weekend.

MacLean also netted for his new club while playing on Cove Rangers’ artificial pitch in the Betfred Cup group stage.

Asked about the subject, Wright told the Courier: “The reason Macca didn’t play on plastic pitches here was because of me.

“I got medical advice and made my decision because he was my main striker.

“Macca has got to 35 and is still playing in the Premiership. I’d like to think some of that is down to the way we dealt with him.

“He got plenty of Mondays off, for example, and we protected him as much as we could because he was such an important player for us.

“Macca always wanted to play on plastic pitches, he was always on at me to let him do it.

“But I decided it wasn’t happening. I decided what was best for St Johnstone was for him not to play on plastic and I don’t regret that one bit. I stand by it.

“Macca did OK in his time with us, didn’t he? So I’m more than comfortable with the decisions I made.”