St Johnstone have lost three times to Aberdeen this season but Perth manager Tommy Wright claims his side have not displayed their true abilities in any of those matches – and it’s time to change.
The best the McDiarmid Park men have managed against Derek McInnes’ side was a goalless draw at Pittodrie in August.
But since then, they have shipped seven goals in three matches without netting any in return.
The most painful of those defeats was the 4-0 hammering in the League Cup semi-final at Tyne- castle at the end of January.
Wright’s team, however, have the chance to gain revenge when they meet in the Scottish Cup final-four match at Ibrox on Sunday and the Saints manager insists they are ready to silence those who doubt them.
Saints have never reached a national cup final, no better time to end that run than Sunday according to Wright who said: “We can do better than we have done against Aberdeen this season.
“We need to give them credit because they are a good side, but we can do better and we know we can do better. It hasn’t been the real St Johnstone.
“Everybody else seems to think that the winner of the two semi-finals will be Aberdeen and Dundee United, which is good for us.
“We like proving people wrong.”
Wright knows the wait for cup success will continue if they defend as poorly on Sunday as they have done already this season against the Dons.
“The fact we haven’t scored against Aberdeen this season shows how difficult a side they are to beat,” he said. “They don’t give many chances away but looking back on the games we have played them this season, we have contributed a lot to their success.
“For example, in the home game which we lost 2-0, we gave the ball away cheaply and then in the semi-final, three of the goals were basically counter attacks.
“So we need to make sure we limit the number of mistakes we make because they can punish us.
“They have so much quality. Niall McGinn is hitting form, Peter Pawlett has had a really good season and with Adam Rooney, they have someone who leads the line well.”
Wright has used his friendship with Celtic manager Neil Lennon to arrange the use of the Hoops’ Lennoxtown training base in the run up to the semi-final.
Having already secured top-six football for the remainder of the Scottish Premiership season, Wright now wants to end his first season as Perth manager with a chance of glory at the Parkhead trophy decider on May 17.
“We had a difficult summer because we had to reduce our budget considerably, as we’ve had to do over the last two or three seasons,” said the Northern Irishman. “But to have finished in the top six is a real highlight for the players and I’m pleased with that.
“It’s been a good season. It doesn’t surprise me that we’ve done so well because of the character of the players we have assembled.
“There are no prima donnas, and they all work extremely hard.
“When people are left out, they just get on with working hard to get back in the team.
“To get to two semi-finals is nice, but nobody likes losing these games.
“We’ve already lost one semi-final, so now we have got to win on Sunday by hook or by crook and get into that final.”