And so it begins. The Scottish Premiership 2018/19 is officially underway and we can all…
We’re two weeks into the league season now and it already feels like we were never away. After another weekend of Scottish Premiership action, the usual shocks, drama and excitement have returned in full force to our national game to set pulses racing up and down the country.
Hearts stunned the champions to record a 1-0 home win over Celtic thanks to Kyle Lafferty’s late winner, Hamilton came out on top in a fiercely-contested Lanarkshire derby while in Perth, St Johnstone picked up their first Premiership point this season after Hibs recovered from Ryan Porteous’ first-half own goal.
As always, the weekend’s results have had an impact on our manager power rankings and things are looking a little differently now. For the uninitiated, you can read about how it all works here. Our Premiership rankings are a little more descriptive than they were last week and the results, so far, are below.
Of course, this season we’ve broadened our scope and we’re now judging managers’ progress across all competitions, as well as the Premiership, to give a more complete picture of how each coach is getting on this season. Our power rankings across all competitions look like this at this early stage of the season.
After an unremarkable campaign last time out, Hearts have hit the ground running and laid down an early marker for this season. In the weekend’s early kickoff, Craig Levein’s side hosted Celtic hoping to repeat their 4-0 win over the Hoops that brought Brendan Rodgers’ unbeaten domestic run to a close. The Jambos didn’t get four but will undoubtedly be delighted with the final score of 1-0. Kyle Lafferty showed why Hearts have been reluctant to sanction a move to Rangers by scoring the only goal of the game to continue the Edinburgh club’s fantastic start to the season.
Unsurprisingly, Celtic were the bookies’ favourites before the match so Levein picked up three points for the win, moving level with Alan Stubbs at the summit of our rankings. Rodgers was docked the same amount in what’s been a poor week for the Celtic boss – the Northern Irishman was also docked a point for the Hoops’ midweek draw with AEK Athens in the Champions League qualifiers, where the home side were expected to win.
It’s been a great start to the season for Levein and his team and that’s reflected in our table. Had Andrew Irvine not been picked for the game against Cove Rangers, which resulted in a points deduction as he was ineligible, Levein would be the clear leader in our power rankings across all competitions. As it stands, the former Scotland boss will just have to make do with topping our Premiership rankings.
After crashing out of the League Cup at the group stage, it’s fair to say that Hamilton Accies haven’t had the best start to the season this year. On Saturday they travelled to Fir Park to face their local rivals, where they left as 1-0 winners thanks to Steven Boyd’s fantastic looping volley with around 20 minutes to go.
Martin Canning picked up three points in our rankings as Accies were expected to lose the match, leaving the 36-year-old with a total of 0 across all competitions so far. Canning will be hoping to build on Saturday’s win next weekend but any gains are fairly unlikely – Hamilton face a daunting trip to Celtic Park in their next outing.
For Motherwell’s Stephen Robinson, the shock defeat has cost him dearly. The Northern Irishman has dropped to -2 overall, leaving him in dead last in our Premiership rankings and joint bottom of our overall table. Robinson will take heart from the fact that this is the first time he’s found himself on negative points this season and can bounce back into the positive digits after his team’s next fixture.
Aberdeen faced a trip to Dens Park on Saturday afternoon as they sought to pick up their first win of the season. Not that it’s been a poor start so far – the Dons gave an excellent account of themselves over two legs against Burnley before nicking a draw at home to Rangers with a last-minute equaliser last week. Gary Mackay-Steven’s second half penalty proved to be enough against Neil McCann’s team and McInnes left Dundee with all three points.
McInnes gained a point for the result as Aberdeen were expected to win, giving him a total of +3 in our rankings across all competitions and he’s tied in second spot in our Premiership table with +2. The Aberdeen boss will probably still be a little worried about his side’s lack of a reliable goalscorer in attack, but it’s so far, so good from McInnes.
McCann, meanwhile, has endured a disappointing start to the season. After finishing second in their League Cup group, Dundee began the season with a defeat to newly-promoted St Mirren before coming up short against Aberdeen at the weekend. As a result, McCann finds himself joint-bottom of both our Premiership rankings and our table across all competitions. The Dark Blues host Ayr United in the League Cup in their next fixture – a win could lift McCann off the foot of our rankings. As it stands, the only way is up for the Dundee boss.
Sunday’s 2-0 win over St Mirren was about as routine as they come for Rangers on Sunday afternoon, although the Gers did have to play around an hour with ten men after Ross McCrorie was shown a straight red. Alfredo Morelos opened the scoring before Connor Goldson scored his first goal for the club, setting the home side up for a comfortable win in the end.
Gerrard gained another point for the win, giving the 38-year-old a total of +3 overall – level with McInnes and Lennon. As it stands, Rangers are yet to fall behind in a match under the Liverpool legend’s tenure. A series of solid but unspectacular performances have led to a newfound sense of consistency at Ibrox and Rangers fans will hope that this is a sign of things to come.
Alan Stubbs, meanwhile, lost a point for the defeat and is no longer the clear leader in our rankings, sharing the summit of our table with Levein. Next up, the Buddies face a tricky away game to Aberdeen in the League Cup: should St Mirren lose, then in all likelihood Stubbs will slip further down the rankings.
Livingston picked up their first point since gaining promotion to the Premiership in a 0-0 stalemate at home to Kilmarnock on Saturday. Stevie Lawless had a chance to score for the hosts and Chris Burke clipped the post for Killie, but neither side was able to break the deadlock.
Livi player-manager Kenny Miller picked up a point for the draw, edging ahead of the likes of Gerrard and Lennon in our rankings across all competitions. In the Premiership power rankings, the ex-Rangers striker now has an even score of 0 – indicating he’s performing about as well as he should be expected to in this competition.
Miller’s opposite number Steve Clarke was docked a point for the draw, as Killie were the pre-match favourites, but still find himself with a positive score of +2. This still leaves the Kilmarnock boss trailing many other coaches in the division, but his positive tally tells us he’s still doing well.
After an impressive start to the season, Hibs travelled to McDiarmid Park in the hope of picking up another win after drawing with Molde at Easter Road earlier in the week. Hibs were heading for defeat after Ryan Porteous’ own goal, but Oli Shaw picked up his second Premiership goal in as many games. Both sides worked hard in an attempt for a winner but in the end, both coaches had to settle for a point.
Lennon lost a point in our rankings, as he did against Molde, for failing to win the game despite being favourites to do so. The two draws have cost the 47-year-old two points in our rankings and Lennon has now fallen behind Levein, with a score of +3 overall.
Tommy Wright, on the other hand, gained a point for the draw and has now overtaken the Hibees boss, tied with Kenny Miller in third place with +4. Wright should be able to get more points on the board midweek when the Saints face Queen of the South in the last sixteen of the League Cup.