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Tommy Wright calls for improvements from St Johnstone

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright has told his players they need to start picking up points again as the battle for top-six places hots up.

Saints have lost six and drawn one of their last seven matches but they have faced Celtic three times as well as playing Hearts, Rangers and Aberdeen, with a late defeat at Hamilton the major disappointment of their run.

The Perth side slipped out of the top six on goal difference over the weekend but have a swift chance to return when they host the new sixth-placed side, Hibernian, on Wednesday.

Their subsequent four games come against teams currently below them in the league before they round off their pre-split fixtures against Kilmarnock.

Wright said: “Every game at the minute is vitally important for all clubs. We know that every point you pick up means a lot at this stage of the season.

“Even though we haven’t picked up as many points as we would have liked in this difficult run of fixtures, and that continues with Hibs, we are still in a good position remarkably. That shows how well we did before Christmas.

“We still have teams around us to play, and those games will have a big bearing on who can eventually get over the line for the top six. But I said before the Aberdeen game it will go right to the wire because it is so tight.

“We are still in a strong position and we know if we better Hibs, Motherwell and Livingston’s results before the split that we’ll get top six. It’s a simple equation but we have to start to win games.

“It’s exciting, we have put ourselves in a position where we can have a go, but we have got to get out of this run. It has been a tough run of fixtures but we haven’t picked up enough points.

“We are more than capable of going on a run in these games but it has to start on Wednesday night.”

Hibs have won both of their games – against Hamilton and Dundee – under head coach Paul Heckingbottom.

Wright said: “He has inherited a good squad of players. I know Neil (Lennon) worked extremely hard at Hibs and did a great job.

“They have invested huge amounts of money in their squad, they probably believe they should be top four, but the league is tough and there are no givens.

“So they have had a tough season in terms of where people probably think they should be.

“New manager has come in, he has got a feelgood factor for them, but again on paper they have played two of the teams in the bottom three so I think we’ll be a real test for them and hopefully we will be a real test for them.”