Matchday 22 saw the Premiership sign off in style before the winter break. Partick…
We’ve got just three games left until the split in the Scottish Premiership now and it’s all to play for at the top, middle and bottom of the league. With plenty at stake, matchday 30 was another entertaining weekend in what’s been a fascinating season in Scotland’s top flight.
County fought back to gain a point at home to Hamilton on Stuart Kettleswell’s home debut as the Staggies boss, Steve Clarke stunned Ibrox (again) as Kilmarnock left with all three points while at Fir Park, Motherwell survived a late onslaught from Celtic to hold the champions to a goalless draw.
The weekend’s results have seen a few changes to the standings in our manager power rankings, with lots still to play for between now and the end of the season. Take a look below to see how you team’s boss is getting on.
St Johnstone and Hibernian met at McDiarmid Park on Friday night, where Efe Ambrose converted Scott Allan’s cross to give the visitors the lead within two minutes. Hibs were then forced to play the vast majority of the match with ten men after goalie Ofir Marciano was sent off for handling outside the box, only for Chris Kane to grab an equaliser with ten minutes left to play.
Tommy Wright gained two points for the draw, with his side being second-favourites for the match before kick off. The result gives the Northern Irishman an overall score of +12, opening up a two point gap between Wright and Neil McCann in fifth place.
Neil Lennon, meanwhile, was docked two points for the draw, leaving him with a score of -2. The Hibs boss is now level with Brendan Rodgers and just a solitary point behind Graeme Murty – a win over Partick Thistle in their next fixture could be enough for Lennon to overtake the Rangers manager, if other results go his way.
Aberdeen hosted Dundee on a blustery Saturday afternoon at Pittodrie. Graeme Shinnie opened the scoring for the Dons in the first half to give Derek McInnes’ side the lead and it would turn out to be the game’s only goal. And what an important goal it could prove to be – Aberdeen now trail second-placed Rangers by two points, with a game in hand over the Glasgow club.
Unsurprisingly, Aberdeen were the bookies’ favourites before the game so McInnes only gains a point for the win. However, with Murty, Lennon and Rodgers all dropping points in our rankings this weekend, the 46-year-old now has a healthy seven point gap between himself in seventh and Murty down in eighth.
McCann wasn’t penalised for the defeat, so things are pretty much as they were for the Dundee manager. He remains in fifth with an overall tally of +10, but may need to pick up points soon – Stephen Robinson is now just a point behind McCann.
Hearts went into Saturday’s clash against Partick Thistle without a win in five matches but brought an end to their sorry run to boost their hopes of a top-half finish. Kyle Lafferty, Steven Naismith and John Souttar bagged the goals for the Jambos in a routine 3-0 win over Alan Archibald’s struggling side.
Craig Levein was rewarded with a point in our rankings for the win, yet still finds himself glued to the bottom of our rankings on -9. It’s still possible for Levein to catch up with the others, but it will require a dramatic improvement in form, especially in games that Hearts are expected to lose. Thankfully for Levein, if Hearts finish in the top six then there will be plenty of opportunities for him to improve his record.
Archibald wasn’t docked any points for the loss as his side were expected to lose, so the Thistle boss remains where he was with +15. With only three points separating Archibald with Wright, though, this might not be the case for long.
Another fixture, another win for Kilmarnock. Steve Clarke’s first game in charge of Killie was at Ibrox and when that match finished as a draw, we were all impressed. This time, however, he went one better and left with all three points, courtesy of Kris Boyd’s second half goal. The win means Kilmarnock are guaranteed a place in the top six, something that was simply unthinkable before Clarke was appointed.
Rangers were expected to win the game before kick off, so Clarke picked up another three points in our rankings. The former West Brom boss now has a gigantic haul of +37: it doesn’t seem as if anyone can stop him at this stage.
Murty, on the other hand, was docked three points for the loss, which was the Gers’ seventh home defeat of the season. The 43-year-old now finds himself in eighth place on -1 overall, but Murty should beware; Lennon, Rodgers and Kettlewell are all breathing down his neck, just a point behind the Rangers boss.
Accies travelled to Dingwall on Saturday looking to inflict further misery on Ross County but only left with a draw, despite taking the lead. Jamie Lindsay gave the home side the advantage going into the break, but two goals in three minutes for Accies after the restart turned the match on its head. Andrew Davies’ volley 15 minutes from time restored parity, but neither team could find a winner and the match finished 2-2.
Martin Canning picked up two points for the draw, having been expected to lose the match, and remains in second place with +22. The Accies boss now has seven points separating him from third place, and the gap is only growing.
Kettlewell was docked two points and so is tied with Lennon and Rodgers on -2. County fans might be a little disappointed with a return of one point from his first two games in charge, but can take heart from their improved goalscoring threat – four goals in two games isn’t bad at all from the new boss. It’s imperative to Ross County’s survival that they keep finding the back of the net.
Celtic travelled to Motherwell for this weekend’s Sunday fixture but Rodgers will have left disappointed that the Hoops couldn’t extend their lead at the top of the table. The game finished goalless, with the most notable incident when Cedric Kipré was shown red for an adjudged kick at Scott Brown.
As usual, Celtic went into the match as the favourites so their inability to win cost Rodgers two points in our rankings. Despite dropping points, the gap between Rodgers and Murty has now closed to a single point. A win over Ross County in their next Premiership fixture could see Rodgers overtake his cross-town rival.
Robinson, meanwhile, finds himself a single point behind McCann after he gained two points for Sunday’s draw. Should results go his way, the Northern Irishman could be in fourth after the next matchday – only three points separate Robinson from Wright in fourth place.