Matchday 22 saw the Premiership sign off in style before the winter break. Partick…
It’s been a while, but the power rankings are back.
Clubs across Scotland have been busy in the transfer window, strengthening their squads in the hope of pushing on in the second half of the season.
In our manager power rankings, we judge managers on results but also on how well their team was expected to do. Managers are rewarded with bonus points for achieving unexpected results from difficult fixtures. There’s a full explanation here for those so inclined.
Kilmarnock faced a daunting trip to Pittodrie on Saturday afternoon and despite an impressive track record on the road, left defeated after a second-half comeback from the Dons. Kris Boyd gave Kilmarnock an early lead before a Scott McKenna double swung the match in Aberdeen’s favour, with Niall McGinn scoring late on to confirm victory for Derek McInnes’ side.
Aberdeen were favourites for the match so McInnes gains a point in our table, while Steve Clarke avoided being penalised. The result leaves Clarke at the summit of our rankings, four points clear of his nearest challenger.
McInnes will have an opportunity to add to his haul of +6 in Aberdeen’s midweek fixture against Ross County. Clarke, meanwhile, will be looking to bounce back against Celtic next Saturday.
Hamilton went into Saturday’s match against Dundee without the services of Greg Docherty after the midfielder completed his move to Rangers midweek and looked like they missed the Scotland under-21 international. A Mark O’Hara own goal gave Accies the lead within two minutes, before David Templeton got sent off with 15 minutes left. Dundee made the extra man count, with Matthew Henvey equalising minutes later before A-Jay Leitch-Smith’s last-gasp winner.
Accies were the pre-match favourites so the defeat cost Martin Canning three points in our rankings, resulting in Alan Archibald leapfrogging the Accies boss. Neil McCann, meanwhile, gained three points for the win, moving level with Stephen Robinson and just a point behind Canning in joint-third.
Next up, Canning will take his Hamilton team to Pittodrie where he’ll have the opportunity to regain second spot. McCann’s Dundee will host twelfth-placed Ross County next – if results go McCann’s way, it could be him in second place.
Patrick Thistle picked up their first away win of the season at McDiarmid Park on Saturday, heaping more misery on Tommy Wright’s Saints. Goals from Steven Lawless, Connor Sammon and Ryan Edwards secured the three points for the Jags, with Liam Craig’s penalty St Johnstone’s only response.
St Johnstone were the bookies’ favourites before the game so Archibald gained three points in our power rankings, moving up to second place in the process. Thistle benefit from often being favourites to lose their fixtures – although if results continue in this vein, it won’t be the case for long.
Wright continues to slide down our rankings, as do his team in the Premiership. After the game, Wright spoke of ringing the changes to his squad – there could be one or two new faces when they travel to Tynecastle next weekend.
Celtic hosted Neil Lennon’s Hibs at Parkhead on Saturday with Leigh Griffiths’ first half goal enough to seal the win for the Hoops. Brendan Rodgers will be concerned, however, that Griffiths and Craig Gordon limped off the pitch with injuries.
Rodgers picks up a point for the win, while Lennon avoids losing any. For Lennon, the only way is up – only Craig Levein is below him in our rankings.
Both managers will get a chance to add to their respective tallies midweek, when Celtic will play Hearts at Parkhead and Hibs host Motherwell. Lennon will be hoping his Hibs side can lessen the gap between themselves and third-placed Aberdeen.
Hearts went into Saturday’s encounter with Motherwell on a club-record run of seven clean sheets and were only moments away from gaining an eighth. David Milinkovic gave the Jambos the lead with just ten minutes left to play but were denied all three points when Curtis Main equalised in the 96th minute.
Main’s late goal cost Hearts two points in the Premiership and Levein the same amount in our power rankings, meaning the former Scotland boss remains at the foot of the table. Robinson, on the other hand, gained two points for the draw as his side were expected to lose pre-match. The Motherwell boss has a total of +13 in our rankings, which is pretty good – the Steelmen’s early season form helped get points on the board for Robinson.
Next up, Hearts face an unenviable trip to Celtic Park but will take heart from their 4-0 thrashing of the champions the last time the two sides met. Motherwell, meanwhile, have their own difficult away day at Easter Road on Wednesday evening.
There’s been a lot of changes at Ibrox over the last few weeks and, for the moment at least, things are taking shape nicely for Graeme Murty. Dani Candeias opened the scoring in Dingwall before Jason Cummings scored his first goal since joining on loan from Nottingham Forest. David N’Gog pulled one back for the Staggies with a late penalty but it was too little, too late for Owen Coyle’s side.
Murty picked up a point for his team’s efforts, giving him an overall tally of +1 – snapping at the heels of Rodgers, who’s just a single point ahead. Coyle continues to lose points or remain where he is – it’s now been nine fixtures since he last gained any points in our rankings.
Looking ahead, County host Aberdeen midweek looking to close the six-point gap that now exists between Ross County and eleventh-placed Partick Thistle. Rangers’ next fixture is against Hibs at Ibrox on Saturday in what promises to be a fiery affair. A win for Murty would help improve his chances of holding on to the Rangers job beyond this season.