And we’re off! The 2018/19 campaign is well and truly underway now, with just about…
It’s week two of our manager power rankings and with the dust of the League Cup group stages settling, most Premiership clubs will now be turning their attention to the opening round of fixtures in the league. Everyone involved in the League Cup now has four competitive matches under their belts, while the clubs competing in Europe generally have three.
With the opening shots of the campaign well and truly fired, our manager power rankings are up and running again. Last year, Steve Clarke was the runaway winner but we’ve refined our formula after managers of smaller clubs were in the advantageous position where losing points was a rarity. This season, we’re tracking managers’ progress in the Premiership and also their performances across all competitions. Anyone who would like to find out about how it all works should read this.
With every club having played at least once, every Premiership manager now has points on the board. The top four clubs have European qualifying games contributing to their manager’s tally, whereas the remaining eight team’s coaches have been scored on their League Cup performance. Two weeks into the season, our rankings are displayed below.
The managers of all four of Scotland’s teams in Europe are off to a strong start in our power rankings, and rightly so. So far this season, Scottish teams have taken part in twelve European fixtures. The record so far: ten wins and two draws. Sure, our clubs have generally been the favourites to progress in their ties – with the notable exception of Aberdeen, of course – but the fact that Scottish teams are winning these matches is genuinely refreshing after so many years of disappointing European campaigns.
Derek McInnes gained two points for Aberdeen’s 1-1 draw with Burnley at Pittodrie last Thursday night, where the Dons took a surprise lead before eventually conceding late on. It was a terrific performance from McInnes’ side who executed their manager’s gameplan superbly to secure a well-earned draw.
Brendan Rodgers has been steadily accumulating points as Celtic continue to impress during their qualification campaign, winning all three of their matches so far. On each occasion the Hoops have been favourites to win, meaning that Rodgers has picked up three points so far, leaving him in joint third place overall.
Steven Gerrard and Neil Lennon are tied on +3 points, with Gerrard being rewarded for Rangers’ 1-0 away win over Osijek with three points as his side were expected to lose the match. Lennon made it three wins on the bounce with a dramatic 3-2 comeback win over Asteras Tripoli, courtesy of a last gasp winner from Florian Kamberi. Hibs have been the pre-match favourites in each of their European games so far, so Lennon has picked up three points so far.
It’s been a great start to the season for St Johnstone, who won three of their four matches in normal time – with their win over East Fife on the opening day coming down to penalties. New signing Tony Watt scored his first goal for the club in Saints’ last group match, a 3-1 win over Forfar. Manager Tommy Wright has picked up four points for his team’s results so far and finds himself in second place overall.
At St Mirren, Alan Stubbs is enjoying an even better start to the season and leads our power rankings two weeks in. The Paisley side won their first three matches on penalties before hammering Dumbarton 6-0 in their final group game. Stubbs picked up a point apiece for the wins over Queens Park, Spartans and Dumbarton and three for the win on penalties against Kilmarnock, giving him a total of +6 so far.
Another of the coaches who is yet to make their Premiership management debut is Kenny Miller and, if the League Cup is anything to go by, Livingston look raring to go for the upcoming campaign. Like Stubbs and Wright, Miller has guided his team to four successive victories, giving him a score of +4 in our rankings as Livi were favourites for each match.
The more observant readers might have noticed that Hearts have won all four of their matches, yet Craig Levein only has a score of +2. This is because of the points deduction imposed by the SPFL after Levein accidentally fielded an ineligible player in Hearts’ opening game against Cove Rangers. Hearts were docked two points and Levein lost the same amount in our table.
After losing their first two League Cup matches, Hamilton have bounced back in positive fashion and have picked up back-to-back wins – including a 4-0 drubbing of Berwick Rangers. It was a case of too little, too late for Accies however and they were eliminated after finishing fourth in their group. It’s a difficult start to the season for Martin Canning, who is bottom of our power rankings. Interestingly, Canning is the only coach to have a negative points tally so far – indicating that he’s the only manager that can be said to be underperforming at this early point of the season.
Dundee bounced back from a 1-0 home defeat to Dunfermline by first beating Peterhead 2-0 then overcoming Brechin by the same scoreline, securing their place in the knockout phase where an in-form Ayr United await. McCann now has a score of 0, with the Dunfermline defeat cancelling out the other three wins. Dundee will travel to Paisley at the weekend to face newly-promoted St Mirren in what should prove to be an interesting game – a positive result could see McCann move into positive digits.