Manager power rankings – Scottish Premiership matchday 26

Manager power rankings – Scottish Premiership matchday 26

By James Cairney

Matchday 26 was quite a weekend in the Scottish Premiership.

 

Steve Clarke became the second manager to inflict a domestic defeat on Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic when they won 1-0 at Rugby Park, Hibs stunned Ibrox and emerged as 2-1 winners and Ross County responded to their critics with a 4-1 win at Dens Park.

 

The weekend featured a number of surprise results and our manager power rankings have a few changes as a result. Take a look below.

 

 

Clarke starts to pull away

 

Saturday’s early kick-off between Kilmarnock and Celtic will be one that lives long in the memory for Killie fans. Celtic dominated possession but ultimately had fewer shots (and shots on target) than a well-drilled Killie side, who got the win courtesy of Yusuf Mulumbu’s second half strike.

 

Steve Clarke was rewarded with three points in our rankings for the win, giving him an overall haul of +24. Remarkably, Clarke hasn’t been docked a single point in our rankings since he took over at Rugby Park – meaning he hasn’t lost or drawn any game his side were expected to win.

 

The result sees Brendan Rodgers move level with Neil Lennon, just above Graeme Murty in our table. The Celtic boss will have a chance to move up the rankings when his side face St Johnstone towards the end of the month – the Hoops host Partick Thisle in the Scottish Cup before then.

 

McInnes closes in on McCann

 

Aberdeen closed the gap between them and Celtic in the Premiership to eight points courtesy of a 3-0 win over Hamilton at Pittodrie. An Andrew Considine double and Niall McGinn provided the goals for the Dons and sealed victory for the home side.

 

 

Six points separated Derek McInnes and Neil McCann before the weekend’s action but that figure has now been cut to two. The Aberdeen boss could overtake McCann in our rankings with a win over Hibs in their next league fixture.

 

Martin Canning, meanwhile, remains where he was on +14 and wasn’t penalised for the loss, as his side were expected to lose. Having already been knocked out of the Cup, Canning will have plenty of time to prepare his side for their next match against Rangers in two weeks’ time.

 

Coyle bounces back

 

Ross County went into Saturday’s clash against Dundee without a win since early November but thumped the Dark Blues 4-1. Davis Keillor-Dunn, Alex Schalk and Tim Chow all got on the scoresheet for the Staggies with Kerr Waddell replying for the home side.

 

The away win gave Owen Coyle three points in the league and the same amount in our rankings, giving him an overall tally of +5. The County boss overtakes Tommy Wright in our power rankings and finds himself in seventh place.

 

 

The defeat cost McCann three points in the power rankings and as a result moves below Stephen Robinson in the table. Next up, McCann faces a difficult away trip to Rugby Park to face an in-form Killie side.

 

Levein back to winning ways

 

Hearts failed to win either of their last two fixtures but managed to overcome a resilient St Johnstone at Tynecastle on Saturday afternoon. David Milinkovic scored the only goal of the game at the start of the second half before David Wotherspoon’s dismissal for accruing two yellow cards gave the Saints an uphill struggle.

 

Hearts were the pre-match favourites so Craig Levein gains a solitary point in our table, yet still finds himself bottom with a score of -6. The two sides will meet again at the same venue in a week’s time in the Cup, then Levein’s side travel to Dingwall for their fixture against County.

 

St Johnstone have now gone five league games without a win and their poor run of form has cost Wright six points in our rankings so far. Before they travel back to Tynecastle, the Steelmen first take on Motherwell at Fir Park on Tuesday evening.

 

 

Archibald pulls away from Canning

 

Partick Thistle travelled to Motherwell without a win at Fir Park since 1996 and despite coming close, that record was extended at the weekend. Kris Doolan gave the visitors the lead but Nadir Ciftci equalised with ten minutes to go, his first since joining on loan from Celtic in January.

 

Alan Archibald’s side were expected to lose the game so the Thistle boss gains two points – there’s now a five point gap between him and Canning in third. The Jags face both halves of the Old Firm in their next two matches; they play Rangers midweek in the league, Celtic next weekend in the Cup. Archibald is yet to defeat either as Thistle boss.

 

Robinson’ men were the bookies’ favourites for the match so the Northern Irishman was docked two points, giving him an overall tally of +11. The Motherwell boss is within touching distance of third-placed Canning – if things go the 43-year-old’s way, he could overtake him on matchday 26.

 

Lennon moves up the table

 

Hibs closed the gap between themselves and Rangers to just two points in the Premiership after securing a hard-fought win at Ibrox. John McGinn’s first half goal gave Neil Lennon’s side the lead before Sean Goss equalise for the Gers, only for Jamie MacLaren to find the net minutes later with the game’s winning goal.

 

 

Lennon was awarded three points for the win, leapfrogging Graeme Murty in our rankings and now finds himself with a score of 0 – the same as Brendan Rodgers. The Hibees may have reduced Rangers’ lead to two points but it’s worth noting that they’ve played one more game than the team from Govan.

 

The 2-1 defeat undoes Graeme Murty’s good work the last few fixtures as the 43-year-old slips to an overall tally of -2. Next up, the Light Blues face away matches against Thistle and Accies – if they’re to finish in second spot, Rangers will have to perform much better than they did on Saturday.

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