TOMMY WRIGHT believes that St Johnstone deserved a replay at least after running Celtic close in their Scottish Cup quarter-final tie at McDiarmid Park.

A single goal from Ryan Christie saw the dogged Saints exit the tournament, but Wright felt the result was rough on his players given what they contributed to a hard-fought encounter.

"I think the performance merited [a replay]," Wright said.

"Alright, Celtic had more chances. But we have worked their goalkeeper a lot and had numerous corners. We must have been doing something right in terms of getting forward.

"There were a lot of good performances and that’s continuing now on a consistent level. This isn’t the result we wanted but I can’t have any complaints about the performance.

"I thought the performance was better than good. We pushed Celtic all the way and we should have done enough to get a draw. But we haven’t defended a set play and that’s cost us in the end.

"I’m extremely proud of their performance but ultimately we are out of the cup because we didn’t defend a set play.

"We thought we had weathered the storm in the second half when Celtic started it better than us. But we had chances of our own, good opportunities, and were a real attacking threat throughout the game.

"We knew we would have to work hard, but we have gone toe-to-toe with the best team in the country for a long time and just fallen short."

Meanwhile, Saints midfielder Matt Butcher praised teammate Ali McCann after the game, saying he is on a level with any of the youngsters he has encountered while playing for parent club Bournemouth.

“Ali stood up to the battle well against some top players," Butcher said.

“He has been exceptional all season, he’s transformed his game to be able to play men’s football really quickly.

“That has been the impressive thing and he’s added goals to his game as well.

“That is the hardest thing to do and he’s managed that.”