Inspired subs the key to St Johnstones’ lofty Premiership position

An inspired substitution can be the difference between a side winning and losing, and it’s fair to say that Tommy Wright has been making the right calls in that sense this season.

St Johnstone sit in the lofty position of fourth in the Ladbrokes Premiership and despite a disappointing defeat to Motherwell last time out, have won seven of their last 12 games.

The Perthshire outfit have a lot to thank the man in charge for, with his inspired substitutions working wonders this term.

Six goals have been scored by players coming off the bench for The Saints out of their total of 35 strikes, a percentage of 17 per cent, a split that’s higher than every other side in the division.

Those goals have proved vital for the side, with three of those coming as the winning strike for the team, while Graham Cummins’ last-gasp goal stole a point for the hosts against Inverness Caley Thistle in August.

That’s a total of seven points saved by players entering the fray midway through the game – 22 per cent of St Johnstone’s accrued haul this season.

While they haven’t managed to beat an opposing keeper in three matches, the defeat to Motherwell aside, results haven’t been as terrible as one might assume.

A defeat to Celtic is by no means any reason to put a side down, while a goalless draw against third-placed Hearts reads pretty well at the moment.

Despite picking up just one point in their last three matches, if Wright can work his magic when his side return to league action in 10 days time against an out-of-sorts Hamilton outfit, hopes of a top-half finish can be bolstered further.

The Saints are currently six points behind Hearts in third, with a game in hand, and the possibility of them securing only a second top-five position in Scotland’s elite division in the last 15 years looks high.

Bagging a win against the Accies, would certainly increase the chance of that happening, though don’t assume it will be the XI that start the match that get the job done at McDiarmid Park.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.