Matchday 33 was another exciting weekend of Scottish Premiership action, with clubs jostling for position…
And we’re off! The 2018/19 campaign is well and truly underway now, with just about every Premiership side having a couple of games under their belt already. Some have been progressing in European qualifiers while others have been fighting it out in the slightly less glamorous League Cup, with Aberdeen the only side not to have featured in a competitive game yet this season.
The first few games of a season provide fans with an insight into how the first team will likely line up going forward, as each coach’s pre-season preparations are finalised and put into action. We now know that Steven Gerrard, for instance, will probably rely on a 4-1-4-1 or a 4-2-3-1 formation most weeks. Brendan Rodgers looks like he’ll be playing 3-5-2 more frequently. We know that Kenny Miller isn’t afraid to start himself – and that he can still provide game-winning goals, despite what his critics say.
With most clubs having played at least two games, our manager power rankings are up and running for the campaign. Last year, we focused solely on how a team performed in the Premiership but this season we’re broadening our scope. We’re going to have two separate rankings – one for the Premiership, as before, but also one that includes all competitions. You can read about how it all works here.
We believe this will give us a more complete picture of how a manager is getting on at any given club. Stephen Robinson’s achievement of guiding Motherwell to two cup finals, for instance, was ignored by our rankings. When Rangers were knocked out of the Europa League, Pedro Caixinha remained unpunished. This season, cup runs and European scalps will be rewarded in our rankings, just as disappointing cup results will harm a coach’s ranking.
So we’ll have a Premiership power rankings running simultaneously this season, but until then we still have our rankings across all competitions. Because of the League Cup’s unusual format, there will be one notable difference in the points tallying. Wins on penalties will still count as wins – as will wins on penalties or in extra time in other cup competitions – but a team that loses on penalties will be deemed to have drawn the game. The results, so far, are below.
St Mirren and Livingston both had their promotion-winning managers lured down south and replaced them with Alan Stubbs and Kenny Miller respectively. And both coaches have hit the ground running; Stubbs winning his opening two matches, including a win on penalties at Rugby Park, and Miller winning three games in a row and scoring the winner against Annan Athletic.
The new managers top our rankings at at this stage. Stubbs was rewarded with three points for a win on penalties at Rugby Park and a solitary point for another win on penalties, this time at home to Spartans. Miller has presided over three consecutive one-point wins: a 2-1 away win at Airdieonians, a win on penalties over Hamilton Accies and a recent home win over Annan. It’s been a positive start for both coaches and both sets of fans have every reason to feel cautiously optimistic going into the Premiership campaign.
Half of the Premiership’s managers have won their first two games of the season, but lag a little behind Miller and Stubbs as they were favourites to win on each occasion. Brendan Rodgers and Neil Lennon both picked up back-to-back wins in Europe, albeit Hibs did it in their own inimitable fashion with a 12-5 aggregate win. Both managers were rewarded with a couple of points for their efforts.
Tommy Wright picks up two points too, one for a win on penalties over East Fife and another for a 1-0 victory away to Montrose. Craig Levein also picks up two points but with a large asterisk against his name. Hearts defeated Cove Rangers 2-1 but fielded Andrew Irving, an ineligible player, in the match. The SPFL will hand out a punishment later today which could result in a change to our rankings. The hearing may well only result in a financial penalty, but this is the SPFL we’re talking about. A points deduction or the overturning of the result are options that are almost certainly on the table.
It’s been a poor start to the season for Hamilton and Martin Canning finds himself bottom of our table with -4 overall. A 1-0 defeat at home to Annan resulted in the Accies boss being deducted three points as they were expected to win, and he lost another when his side lost on penalties at home to Livingston.
After watching his side lose 1-0 at home to Dunfermline yesterday, Neil McCann was deducted three points in our rankings. The Dundee manager picked up a point for their 4-0 away win over Stirling but still finds himself as the only other Premiership coach, alongside Canning, with a negative points tally at this early stage in proceedings with a tally of -2 overall. McCann will have a chance to move up the rankings if his side can overcome Peterhead in their next fixture.
Steven Gerrard and Steve Clarke are find themselves in identical positions after two matches, having both won and drawn games they were expected to win. The Steves both gained a point for their wins and were docked one for the draws, leaving them on 0 overall. Robinson was scored similarly, gaining a point for Motherwell’s 5-0 win over Edinburgh City and losing one for a defeat on penalties at the hands of Stranraer.